World of Warcraft v.2.1.2

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

[1]   Introduction and FAQs
      1.1   Whom is this guide intended for?
      1.2   Why is this guide so long?
      1.3   Why should I PvP in this bracket?
      1.4   I don't play a mage in this bracket now, should I start one?
      1.5   Does this guide offer help on twinking my mage?
      1.6   About the Author
      1.7   About This Guide
      1.8   About My Video

[2]   Mage Class Overview
      2.1   Strengths
      2.2   Weaknesses
      2.3   How to Become a Good PvPer in BG
      2.4   How to Become a Good Mage

[3]   Mage Spells
      3.1   Arcane Spells
      3.2   Fire Spells
      3.3   Frost Spells

[4]   Mage Talents
      4.1   Arcane Tree Talents
      4.2   Fire Tree Talents
      4.3   Frost Tree Talents

[5]   Miscellaneous Information
      5.1   Race / Racial Traits
      5.2   Profession
      5.3   Other Useful Items
      5.4   My Keybinding
      5.5   My Talent Spec
      5.6   Add-Ons

[6]   Defeating Other Players
      6.1   Druid
      6.2   Hunter
      6.3   Mage
      6.4   Paladin
      6.5   Priest
      6.6   Rogue
      6.7   Warlock
      6.8   Warrior

[7]   Playing in the Battleground
      7.1   Playing in a Pickup Group
      7.2   Playing Against a Premade Group

[8]   Warsong Gulch
      8.1   Getting to the Flag
      8.2   Getting Away with the Flag
      8.3   Holding the Flag
      8.4   Returning the Flag
      8.5   Defending the Flag
      8.6   Escorting and Guarding the Flag Carrier

[9]   Arathi Basin
      9.1   Assaulting a Resource Node
      9.2   Defending a Resource Node

[10]  Other Resources
      10.1  Video
      10.2  Links to Other Guides

[11]  Acknowledgement, Version And Copyright Information
      11.1  Acknowledgement
      11.2  Version
      11.3  Copyright Information




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[1]      =                   Introduction and FAQs                   =        =
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Thank you for your interests in this guide, I hope that you will find this 
guide helpful and informative. Although I suggest you to read the sections in
this guide in sequence, each section is mostly self-contained and you are very
welcome to jump to the specific section that suits your needs. I'd also like to
inform you that there is a video clip accompanying this guide, you will find 
more information about it under the "Other Resources" section.

(1/11/09) Please note that this guide was written when World of Warcraft was at
version 2.1.2, so if you are reading it now you may find some information to be 
inaccurate. The section most affected will be the one concerning the mage 
talents, but other sections should be mostly fine. Although it is my wish to 
keep my guide as current as possible, I have neither the time nor the desire to
pick up World of Warcraft at this moment, therefore I am unable to update the 
information contained within this guide. I apologize for the inconvenience in 
advance.


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1.1   Whom is this guide intended for?
    
    As the title suggests, this guide is primarily intended for all mages who 
    have a reasonable familiarity with the class and are interested in PvPing 
    in the 20-29 bracket, mostly as a part of a Pickup Group (PuG). This means 
    I should expect you to know the basics of the class and of the WoW game 
    mechanisms; but if you do not, there are still plenty of resources 
    available online that will bring you up to the level of knowledge you are 
    assumed to have to get the most out of this guide.

    In addition, I will assume that as a mage you will be actively working on 
    the match objective instead of "getting the best score". This almost 
    certainly rules out spamming-Fireballs-behind-a-bush type of play, because 
    getting the objective done demands not wasting mana on non-essential kills;
    and chances are most of the time you will be operating alone thus your 
    targets will close in on you too fast for you to use any long casting 
    spells. But don't worry if that's what you do currently, I will fill you in
    on the details if you keep reading.

    Finally, even if you do not play a mage, you can still benefit from this 
    guide. In particular, the section "How to Become a Good PvPer in BG" and 
    "Defeating Other Classes" should provide you with some useful information.


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1.2   Why is this guide so long?

    Simply put, this is the most comprehensive guide on the subject of BG PvP 
    for lvl 20-29 mages. A glance at the Table of Contents will tell you that 
    everything you need to know to become an effective player is covered here, 
    therefore once you have finished reading this guide, there is no need for 
    you to look for other written materials of similar nature.

    Certainly, reading this whole guide is a daunting and time-consuming task. 
    But know that, unlike so many other guides, there is no extraneous and 
    superficial information (such as statistics) included in this guide. So I 
    can assure you that everything written here is definitely worth reading. In
    addition, you are always welcome to digest the contents of this guide in 
    small chunks, going over one section at a time.

    I hope that's enough motivation for you =) .


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1.3   Why should I PvP in this bracket?

    The 20-29 bracket has become the second most popular bracket (next to the 
    70 bracket) for many reasons, some of which are:

    - Leveling to this bracket requires very little time, it is not uncommon 
        for someone to have multiple characters in this bracket.

    - In contrast to the 70 bracket, the equipment you can use in this bracket 
        is very much fixed. Once you obtain the armors and weapons that you 
        like, you do not have to worry about upgrading them in the future.

    - All classes have gotten their core spells and a fair number of talent 
        points by level 29. This addresses the imbalance often seen in the 
        10-19 bracket and offers some variety in talent builds. This also means
        that skills are factored into the outcome of a game more than they do 
        in the 10-19 bracket.

    - As such, there are many dedicated and skilled PvPers in this bracket, 
        organized matches are not uncommon for those seeking the ultimate 
        challenge and fun.

    - From my experience in playing in virtually all PvP brackets, I find that 
        one-on-one PvP encounters tend to last the longest in the 20-29. Unless
        you are very much out-geared or the other person is very lucky, you 
        generally have a good 30 seconds or more before one of you drops. This 
        is a very good thing because it saves the frustration of dying without 
        even having a chance to defend yourself or retaliate.

    - If you play a mage, there are some added bonuses: in this bracket, 
        warriors do not have Intercept, hunters do not have Bestial Wrath, 
        warlocks do not have Felhunter, and shamans do not have Windfury. All 
        of these factors directly enhance your survivability. 


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1.4   I don't play a mage in this bracket now, should I start one?

    Absolutely! Regardless of what class you played in this bracket, once you 
    have tried a mage I think you will agree with me that the mage class can 
    contribute more to winning a game than any other class. As a summary, you 
    are great at carrying/returning flags in Warsong Gulch (WSG), great at 
    assaulting/defending resource nodes in Arathi Basin (AB), and you have many
    abilities that can be used to assist your teammates in group PvP. 

    Last but not least, a mage can do all this without spending the time and 
    hundreds of gold on twinking. So if you want a class that offers the most 
    amount of fun and return with minimal investment, mage is perfect class for
    you.


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1.5   Does this guide offer help on twinking my mage?

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: No.

    - Gear and skill are two different things, and it is often the latter that 
        is lacking.
		
    - As mentioned above, one great thing about playing a mage in this bracket 
        is that you can do remarkably well without twinking. If you find you 
        need twink gears to survive and compete, then you can probably find 
        other areas to improve first (and that's what this guide is for!).

    Again, this does not mean that as a twink mage you won't benefit from 
    reading this guide. But it does mean that everything written here is from a
    non-twink player's perspective, and that I will not devote a section on 
    twink gears. If you need help in that area, you can always check out the 
    equipment guide on WoW's official PvP forum (please refer to the section 
    "Other Resources" for the URL).


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1.6   About the Author

    Well, I started off as a heavy raider before burning out after a mere six 
    months. I figured there was no point in trying to get the "best" gear, so 
    PvE was not for me. I began to PvP with a newly made human warlock, since 
    at that time it was one of the most underplayed classes and probably also 
    the hardest (This was when Will of the Forsaken (WotF) still lasted a whole
    20 seconds, those were the days). By the way, I encourage anyone serious 
    about PvP to play a warlock before switching to the class of his or her 
    choice, since warlock teaches multitasking better than any other class in 
    this game.

    Anyway, I have been a PvPer ever since, but shifted my focus from world PvP
    to BG PvP, playing mostly in the 20-29 bracket. If you can find and join a 
    group of similar-minded people as I have, you will find BG PvP to be 
    extremely fun and rewarding.

    All in all, I have had eight 29s PvPing in this bracket (seven of them are 
    still here), scattered among Stormrage and Emerald Dream. I also had a 
    priest that only stayed in this bracket for a few matches before leveling 
    out, as there is no fun in healing PuGs that don't work on the objectives. 
    Of all these, my favorite class is of course the mage, which I have four in
    total, currently at level 29, 29, 49 (my first one), and 60 (used to play 

    at 29).


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1.7   About This Guide

    I have rarely played WoW after the release of The Burning Crusade. The 
    guide might reflect that, but the information contained here is current as 
    of patch 2.1.2. However, I will admit that I do not have a lot of 
    experience in fighting shamans in the 20s (though I have plenty in the 
    40s), and I do not have a lot of PvP experience from after Blizzard changed
    the PvP trinkets to remove Polymorph effects for all classes. I apologize 
    for this but I simply do not have the time to play often enough to amend 
    these deficiencies.

    I welcome any suggestion from you, and you can reach me at 
    luximus.ed@gmail.com. However, I probably will not have the time to reply 
    to you, so please allow me to thank you in advance here. I will also assure
    you that I will properly attribute your additions to this guide, as it is 
    the least I can do.


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1.8   About My Video

    When I started this guide, I never intended on making a video to accompany 
    it. But as time goes on, I feel a video would be a very useful medium in 
    illustrating some of the techniques and strategies that are written here. 
    For one, it is a lot easier for readers to understand them with the help of
    a visual representation rather than mere dry words. And secondly, readers 
    would be more readily engaged in a video than in a guide, which would spark
    a greater attention and interest in the subject. At first I tried to find 
    an instructional video for level 29 mages on the Internet, but most of 
    those I found are twink mage videos showing off "big crits" with a glaring 
    lack of skill and sense of BG objective. The few better videos are 
    unfortunately too short that they only cover one or two aspects of the BG 
    PvP, which would not go well with a guide as comprehensive as this one. 
    Thus my video was born.
		
    Please do understand that I only have a very short time in shooting the 
    videos (probably 60 hours or so over the course of a month), so the 
    selection pool for the clips that made into my final video is rather 
    limited. Some of the clips in the final video may not be the best 
    representation of the strategies I will mention in this guide, but they 
    should give you a good idea of them.

    I've also decided to make the video from the perspective of an 
    average-geared mage rather than my twinkier mage, because my intended 
    audiences are really those who do not want to spend too much resource on 
    their mages, for whatever reason, but still want to contribute to the game.
    You will find that almost all my equipment are either bought in the Auction
    House ("of the Eagle" greens), purchased from BG quartermasters, or 
    begotten from quests that you can easily do without the help of a high 
    level character. The only "twinkier" piece that I have is Beguiler's Robes 
    with a +100 HP enchant which, incidentally, is a gift from a good friend 
    and shouldn't cost you a fortune to obtain. I have no other stamina or any 
    spell damage enchantment otherwise. (You can check out my profile at 
    armory.worldofwarcraft.com/character-sheet.xml?r=Emerald+Dream&n=Luximus)

    What this means is that, contrary to most, if not all, PvP videos out there,
    I will die quite often in my videos when facing a strong opposition. But I 
    think an accurate representation of your fragility is conducive to your 
    learning and thus I have included them without any regret. On a broader 
    scope, the clips I've selected are purely based on their instructional 
    values rather than tendencies to portray me as a "god".

    You will also see in my video that despite all that I know in theory and 
    nearly two years of playtime, I still make mistakes. Frankly I don't think 
    they are avoidable, but you should be able to minimize the number of 
    mistakes by acquiring more experience. And I hope this video, as well as 
    this guide, will showcase some of the finer details you'll learn only from 
    months or years of playing.




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[2]      =                    Mage Class Overview                    =        =
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Before we delve into the gory details and intricacies of the mage class, it 
would be prudent to first understand its strengths and weaknesses, so we can 
familiarize ourselves with the capability as well as the limit of this class.


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2.1   Strengths
		
    - High Mobility
        Theoretically speaking, if you take all the talents into account, mage 
        is the fourth fastest class in 20-29 (behind druid, hunter, and 
        shaman). But in reality mages fare much better than that. Because not 
        only can you travel at a respectable speed with Blink, you can also 
        slow your enemies with Frost Nova, Frostbolt and Cone of Cold. Combine 
        this with the fact that you can easily remove stuns and roots with 
        Blink; and remove other movement impairing effects with either your 
        racial trait or trinket, there is almost nothing that can stop you once
        you get going. As such, mages are excellent flag carriers (FC) in the 
        Warsong Gulch; and they are also vital in Arathi Basin matches, where 
        players often need to cover long stretches of lands to assault or
        reinforce a resource node.

    - Crowd Control (CC)
        You have two forms of crowd control: Polymorph and snares. Polymorph is
        simply an incredibly useful spell that unfortunately doesn't get 
        utilized nearly as often as it should. Its advantage in group PvP 
        encounters is self evident, but I find it equally appealing when you 
        are soloing and do not want to engage a target in combat (perhaps to 
        save mana, or maybe to buy some time). For example, if there is a sole 
        defender at a node in AB, you can simply Polymorph him and capture the 
        flag before dealing with him. A more creative use of Polymorph is to 
        use it as a spell interruption when your Counterspell (CS) is on the 
        cooldown. Regardless of how often you've used Polymorph at this point, 
        it's safe to say that the more you play in Battlegrounds (BG), the more
        you will appreciate this simple yet effective spell.

        The other form of crowd control comes from your snares. Although snares
        are not usually seen as a form of CC, indeed they are. Offensively, 
        your slowing spells will delay an enemy flag carrier and allow your 
        teammates to catch up. Defensively, if you see your flag carrier is 
        being chased by a group of rogues and warriors, a Frost Nova will stop 
        all of them for a good eight seconds. As for casters and hunters, most 
        of them cannot break snare and root effects without using the PvP 
        trinket, so there is a good chance that your carrier will run out of 
        their range before the snare breaks. It is also for this reason that 
        mage is a very good support class in escorting and guarding flag 
        carriers, more on this later.

    - Spell Interruption (aka Counterspell)
        The reason I list Counterspell as a strength of this class is to 
        emphasize how important this ability is. Given its long cooldown, you 
        don't really notice Counterspell until you lose it. It stops heals; 
        Fear; Polymorph; Entangling Root; and all other spells you don't want 
        your enemy to cast. Simply put, the correct and timely use of this 
        spell will win you many games. Bind it to a most accessible key.

    - Ranged Magical Damage
        There is no shortage of players with high amount of armor in 20-29, but
        your spells will bypass this defense completely. The advantage of this 
        will become very apparent when you are fighting a twink druid in bear 
        form -- good luck if you are a physical damage based class.


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2.2	  Weaknesses

    - Low Survivability
        As you know, mage doesn't have a lot of armor; and your health is, if 
        not the lowest, one of the lowest of all classes. To compound the 
        matter, with the high mobility of the mage class, you can often charge 
        in a group of four or five, cause some confusion and damage, and get 
        out alive. These fun and daring escapades may give you a sense of 
        invulnerability, but unfortunately it is purely illusionary. If you 
        have average equipment (around 1400 hp), two coordinated twinks with 
        the right spec and available cooldowns will drop you in a matter of 
        seconds regardless what you may try. Actually even one good twink could
        very well get you if you are a bit unlucky and don't play perfectly. It
        is also for this reason that I don't advice you to hold the flag when 
        you are facing a team of many twinks. You and your team will be much 
        better off if you hand the flag to someone more durable and re-adjust 
        yourself to a supporting role.

    - Mana-Dependent Damage and Survivability
        Since all of your spells other than Evocation and Light Fall use mana, 
        a mage without mana is as good as dead. What this means is that as a 
        mage you should be very careful about where and when you spend that 
        limited reserve. To give you a rough idea, if you have average gear 
        (i.e., some high level "of the Eagle" greens and some BG rewards), a 
        full mana bar is good for killing about one and a half equally geared 
        players, and it may or may not be enough to kill one twinked player. If
        your mana is depleted, it takes about 45 seconds to 1 minute to regain 
        that amount in entirety, which is a lot of downtime for the fast-paced 
        BG matches you will be fighting in. So my suggestion is that, as 
        someone who works on the BG objectives, you should avoid all the 
        players if you can, and Polymorph those that you can't; expend mana 
        only when it is absolutely necessary. In line with this, save your 
        Evocation for the most critical moments, don't use it if it doesn't 
        help your team in a significant way (example: use it when the resource 
        node you are guarding is about to be overrun if you don't regain your 
        mana quickly).


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2.3	  How to Become a Good PvPer in BG

    - Know Your Class and Role
        This should be a given for any player going into a BG, but sadly it's 
        not the case. You see druids that don't know to shift out of Polymorph,
        rogues that keep poking at a healing priest without using Kick, 
        paladins that don't heal and die with a full mana bar. Don't be those 
        players.

    - Know Other Classes
        You can't efficiently and convincingly defeat an enemy if you don't 
        know what that class can do. The best way to gain knowledge about a 
        class is to simply play it yourself. But if you don't have the time or 
        will for that, you can remedy the situation by watching PvP videos and 
        playing more in the BG. But keep in mind that your average players 
        won't play the class to its maximum strength, so video is probably a 
        better choice here.

    - Know and Work on the Objective 
        As much as I'd like some deathmatch or king-of-the-hill type BGs, they 
        are not what's been offered in WoW. Therefore when you zone in a WSG or 
        AB match, you should be doing one of the following two things only: 
        getting the flag or defending the flag. Anything else you do, such as 
        killing and dying endless number of times in the middle, has no bearing
        to the outcome of the game, so don't do it. This is especially true for
        a mage as the class has so many ways to avoid unnecessary combat. 
        Another thing, never chase after a single target unless it will have a
        direct impact on the outcome of the game. It's infuriating how common 
        it is for three or four people to chase after a lone druid, mage or 
        hunter, whom they simply cannot catch, instead of doing something more 
        productive.

    - Be Observant
        If you are working on the objective of the match, you should have no 
        problem tracking the flag/resource nodes at all times. But to "be 
        observant" goes beyond such simple tasks. For instance, you should know
        where your teammates and enemies are, what they are doing (wasting time
        in the middle/going after your flag carrier, etc.), whether your flag 
        carrier is losing health, and so on. Once you have this information, 
        you can move onto the next step.

    - Think
        This is what separates a good BG player from a great BG player. To 
        illustrate this, I will outline some very typical scenarios you will 
        encounter in a BG, you need to choose either A or B.

        1. You notice that your flag carrier is being chased by a bunch of 
        enemies, he is losing health fast. But thankfully you are not too far 
        away from him. Do you:

            A: Run into the enemies, slow them first, and then take free shots 
                at them (as you are not their primary target) to kill them or 
                relieve the pressure off your flag carrier.
            B: Run into the enemies, slow them first, and then follow your flag
                carrier closely.

        2. You are in WSG and you are one of the two players from your team who 
        are halfway across the field. You see that enemy flag carrier has just 
        exited your base's tunnel, while their flag is still in their base. Do 
        you:

            A: Run to their base and try to get the flag.
            B: Run toward the enemy flag carrier and try to stop him.

        3. You are in WSG and you are holding the flag. More than half of your 
        team have gone to the other side to kill a twink flag carrier and his 
        support. From the map and health bars you see that they are fighting it
        out in the flag room; but in the meantime, a large enemy force has also
        entered your base to retrieve the flag from you. Do you:

            A: Run out to the Graveyard (GY) for reinforcement, and possibly 
                dropping down to the hut to heal yourself.
            B: Run around inside the base for as long as you can.

        4. A similar scenario to the last one, but this time you and some 
        teammates are chasing after their flag carrier who's running around in 
        their base. He is down to half hp and is running up the ramp to the 
        roof. You notice that your flag carrier is also losing health. Do you:

            A: Go to the enemy flag room and stand near the capture point.
            B: Help your teammates and go after the enemy flag carrier.

        5. You are in AB and notice one of your nodes is unguarded. Do you:

            A: Guard that node yourself.
            B: Leave the node to teammates who are coming up from behind you.

        My usual choices would be B, A, B, A, A. Here are my reasons:

        The first one is obvious when you read it here, but in an actual match 
        most people don't do it and would try to stop/kill all the enemies by 
        themselves. Inevitably some enemy gets through and kills the flag 
        carrier and returns the flag.

        For the second one, running to their base and taking the flag first is 
        usually a much safer choice.

        As for the third one, I would just run around the base for as long as I
        can while staying close to the capture point. Twink isn't invincible, 
        if many of your teammates are onto him then he will probably drop soon,
        and when that happens you want to be as close to the capture point as 
        you can.

        The answer to the forth question should be obvious after answering the 
        last one. Since your teammates are already chasing after the flag 
        carrier, you should run straight to the flag capture point and retake 
        the flag should your flag carrier goes down before theirs does.

        I chose A for the last question mostly out of experience. In general 
        you can assume that people won't defend a resource node, so you should 
        do it yourself or explicitly tell them to (and pray that they listen).

        Of course, the scenarios outlined here are merely to illustrate the 
        point that there is a lot of thinking involved in a BG match. I know I 
        probably wasn't specific enough in my descriptions for you to make a 
        choice. In fact it is actually a good thing if you can't make a choice 
        between the two options -- it shows you are thinking about all the 
        other variables I didn't mention. For example, in the second case, if 
        you also know that their team is turtling in their flag room, then 
        obviously you should go after the flag carrier directly.

        The point I am trying to make is that you will face many such scenarios
        during the course of a game (a lot more if it's a very competitive 
        one), you will have to constantly evaluate the situation, combine the 
        information you have with intuition and past experience, and then 
        determine your best course of action. BG is very much a thinking man's 
        game, and great players know how to be at the right place at the right 
        time. If you find yourself always saving your team in the nick of time,
        you are doing something right.

    - Communicate
        BG is a team game after all, you can't do everything by yourself. 
        That's why communication is so important. Let your teammates know where
        you are going if you have the flag (i.e., either you are going tunnel 
        or ramp); where their flag carrier is going; whether their flag carrier
        is about to go down (to help your flag carrier prepare for the 
        capture); how many people are coming to assault the resource node you 
        are guarding, etc. If you don't have the time to type, you should at 
        least pin it on the mini-map. Or you can make some macros to save some 
        typing. And for god's sake, don't say "left"/"right" in WSG. Use either
        "ramp"/"GY" or "East"/"West".


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2.4	  How to Become a Good Mage

    - Watch Your Cooldowns
        Mage class is very different from other classes in that it has many 
        spells with short cooldown times, and these spells also constitute the 
        core arsenal for a mage. You should constantly monitor the time left on
        Fire Blast; Frost Nova; Blink; and Counterspell, so as to maximize your 
        damage and survivability. This is a bit harder than it sounds, since it
        is very easy to develop "tunnel vision" when there are a lot of actions
        going on in the middle of your screen. You could use a mod to help you 
        in this area, or you could just play more and eventually you will 
        develop a sense of time as to when your cooldowns are about to expire, 
        so that you don't have to watch them constantly.

        The other aspect of "watching your cooldowns" is knowing when to use 
        them, especially for your Frost Nova, Blink and Counterspell. For 
        example, in most cases you don't want to blow both Frost Nova and Blink
        in short succession because after that you will have very little 
        defense left. Similarly, you may not want to use Counterspell at your 
        first opportunity, but reserve it for the more critical moments. The 
        same goes for other cooldown-related abilities such as racial traits 
        and PvP trinkets, I will say a few more words about them in later 
        sections.

    - Move
        Even though you are a caster and many of your spells require you to be 
        stationary to cast, you shouldn't just stand at one place without 
        moving an inch the whole time. On the contrary, moving is an integral 
        part of mage combat because you need to constantly adjust the distance 
        and facing between you and your enemy to take advantage of terrains and 
        make sure your spells can hit him but he would have a hard time hitting 
        you. This isn't just for when you are up against melee classes. For 
        example, if you can run in circles around a caster such as a priest, 
        he will have a very hard time in landing a spell on you due to facing 
        requirement, while you can still blast him with your instant spells. 
        The general rule is that you should be moving whenever your Global 
        Cooldown (GCD) is up.
		
    - Learn to Multitask
        There will be plenty of times when you (and perhaps your teammates with
        you) face multiple opponents, and this is where multitasking comes in: 
        you need to juggle between doing damage; crowd control through 
        Polymorph and snare; Counterspelling; moving; and staying alive. To 
        accomplish this you have to be quick in the eyes and fast at hands, 
        shifting targets and spells constantly to meet any challenge your 
        opponents throw at you and your team. This isn't something you can 
        learn overnight just by reading some guides or watching some video 
        clips, you really need to be in those situations to learn to not to 
        panic and cast the correct spells under pressure. As I've stated in the
        Introduction, the warlock class offers some great training on 
        multitasking, since you will be controlling both your character and 
        your pet and coordinate between the two. If you can juggle three mobs 
        or two players effortlessly on a warlock, then you are well on your way
        to become a good multitasker.

    - Develop Fast Reflex and Good Anticipation
        These two are sort of tied together in that good anticipation will help
        you to react quicker. As an example of what I mean by "anticipation", 
        let's say you are fighting a priest and all of a sudden he runs toward 
        you, you should realize at this point that he is about to use Psychic 
        Scream so have your finger ready on that trinket or WotF key. As for 
        "fast reflex", any PvP mage should be able to Counterspell a 1.5 second
        cast under any circumstance. A mage with great anticipation and reflex 
        such as Saerdna can Cold Snap and Ice Block within under a second after
        he senses a potential killing blow is coming.

    - Create an Efficient and Effective Keybinding Scheme
        I won't get into the whole "Clicker vs. Keybinder" argument, because 
        there is simply no debate whatsoever that keybinding is absolutely 
        essential when it comes to PvP. To create a good keybinding scheme, I 
        suggest you to look at the spells you want to use, and the keys you can
        most comfortably and reliably reach during the heat of battle, then 
        assign the most accessible keys to those spells that you use the most. 
        You also need to think about what spells you may need to use while you 
        are on the move, so that you can assign them to keys that you can still
        press easily while you are running. It will take a bit of work to get 
        everything right, but you will be amply rewarded for your effort. This 
        whole process varies from person to person, but if you need some ideas,
        you could check out the movie Sorrow Hill 5 from Otherguy, or you check
        out a later section (5.4) where I put down what keybindings I use. 

    - Watch Mage Videos and Learn
        One of the best ways to become better at a class is to learn from the 
        masters. Over the years a few names stand out from the rest, they are 
        Otherguy, Saerdna, and Vurtne. Even though their videos are mostly 
        about World PvP, I strongly recommend that you watch them, because 
        everything I've said in this section, such as "Watch Your Cooldowns", 
        "Move", etc., is all superbly demonstrated in these videos. For more 
        information about these videos, refer to the video section later in 
        this guide.



===============================================================================
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[3]      =                        Mage Spells                        =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================


Here I will say a few words about the spells you will most certainly use in 
PvP.


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3.1   Arcane Spells

    - Arcane Explosion (AE)
        AE is very mana intensive and therefore should not be used against 
        single targets unless you have a really good reason to (For example, 
        when you are chasing an enemy FC you could use AE to do damage while on
        the run). For revealing rogues and druids, you should use rank 1 AE 
        instead to minimize the mana cost.

    - Arcane Missiles (AM)
        AM is a curious spell. On one hand it offers the highest DPS to mages 
        (unless you stack on +spell damage gear, then spells like Fireball and 
        Frostbolt start to take over); and with talents, almost uninterruptable
        DPS. In addition, since it shoots out one missile every 0.8 second, it 
        is great in stopping spellcasts. Therefore it is a nice spell against 
        hunters and casters. But on the other hand, it is very mana 
        inefficient; it requires you to stand still to use; and while 
        channeling, you run a very high risk of getting interrupted by 
        Counterspell or similar skills. I used it from time to time back in the
        old days, but since I am no longer an Arcane mage, I find myself almost
        not using this spell at all.

    - Blink
        A life saving spell. One thing that I really miss when playing most 
        other classes is the ability to get out when I am surrounded -- Blink
        does exactly that. In addition, you can use it to remove Cheap Shot, 
        Hammer of Justice (or any other kind of stun effect); Entangling Root, 
        Frost Nova (or any other kind of rooting effect). But you shouldn't be 
        mechanical about it. For example, if you are fighting a druid and see 
        he is casting a root on you, and you have both Blink and Counterspell 
        up, let him finish the cast and come to you before Blinking out. This 
        way he's wasting time while you are blasting him with spells, and you 
        are saving the CS for when he starts to heal. To cite another example, 
        let's say you are facing toward a paladin and he stuns you with Hammer 
        of Justice, if you Blink right away you will be right next to him -- 
        not a good idea. Instead, let him come to you first before Blinking 
        out. 

        An equally important bit of knowledge to possess when using this spell 
        is knowing where you can Blink and where you can't. The coding of this 
        spell has come a long way since the game was first released, although 
        you don't need to worry about "falling through the world" these days, 
        there are still plenty of places with peculiar terrain geometries that 

        prevent Blink doing what it is supposed to do. In general, you should 
        not Blink at connecting terrain tiles that are different or are at 
        different elevations (stone road and bridge, stone slab and dirt road, 
        you get the idea). You also shouldn't Blink at places where the angle 
        of geometry changes suddenly (the ramp in the tunnel leading up to 
        Alliance's flag room in WSG is a good example). In addition, there are 
        some objects that you can Blink through (like the fences in AB) while 
        others that you can't (like the flag poles for resource nodes in AB). 
        When you play in BG, you need to be very mindful of these 
        peculiarities; otherwise they could be annoying in the form of a 
        wasted Blink, or downright serious in the form of a flag capture in a 
        competitive match.

    - Counterspell
        I feel I've said enough about this spell already in the previous 
        section, so here I have just a few short remarks. First, use CS 
        thoughtfully, use it when it matters the most. Second, you can use CS 
        to put your target into combat, which is a very useful trick against 
        warriors (who then can't Charge) and rogues (who then can't stealth 
        unless using Vanish). I find that network latency may still allow the 
        warrior to Charge even if you casted CS "first". To fix this problem, 
        run laterally or diagonally to the direction the warrior is going, 
        instead of meeting him head-on.

    - Dampen/Amplifying Magic
        Unless the PuG you are with know what they are doing (which isn't 
        likely these days), most of the time you will be operating solo. If 
        that's the case, put the Dampen Magic on yourself to reduce damage 
        taken from other spell casters, every little bit helps. On the other 
        hand, if you are holding the flag with a healer and the opposing team 
        is sending in a lot of rogues and warriors, you should use Amplifying 
        Magic instead. Though this is an unlikely scenario.

    - Detect Magic
        Has its uses in PvE and in higher level PvP, but it's useless in 20-29 
        as far as I know, especially in a PuG.

    - Mana Shield
        Mana Shield has become much more useful after Blizzard changed it to 
        absorb magical damage as well as physical damage. Under most 
        circumstances you shouldn't put it up when you have close to full hp, 
        since mana is arguably more important to your survival at that point. 
        The one exception to this rule is when you expect to take a lot of 
        damage in a very short amount of time, that you probably won't have the
        chance to cast this spell as you frantically try to cast other spells 
        to survive. One instance of this is when you are carrying the flag back
        to the base and are expecting some rogues to show up along the way. The
        other use of Mana Shield is of course to eliminate spell interruption 
        due to damage, but I really don't recommend you to put this up just so 
        you can cast a 3-second Fireball -- you won't have enough mana left 
        after that. Try use spells with shorter casting times like Scorch and 
        Fire Blast as much as you can if you are taking damage. Lastly, you 
        should see this spell as a balancing mechanism for your hp and mana. 
        Meaning that if you still have a lot of hp left but are very low on 
        mana, cancel the Mana Shield if it is still up. Remember, a mage 
        without mana is a dead mage.

    - Polymorph
        I think I have said enough about this spell in the sections above. To 
        reiterate, you could use this spell to interrupt long spellcasts, 
        although it might not come natural to you at first.

    - Remove Lesser Curse
        You won't be needing this often, but you should still have it hotkeyed.
        You want to remove warlock's Curse of Agony, but don't worry if you 
        have to let it tick for a while, since half of the damage comes from 
        the last 1/3 of the spell's duration. Similarly, you should remove 
        Curse of Tongues if you need to cast spells with a casting time. Oh, 
        and remember that you can use it on your teammates too, your paladins 
        and priests will thank you.

    - Slow Fall
        This spell comes in handy in AB at times, such as when you need to 
        quickly reinforce Blacksmith from Lumber Mill or reinforce Goldmine 
        from Blacksmith. But if you are good at Blink you could almost ignore 
        this spell completely, as you can just Blink right before you hit the 
        ground and come out unharmed. I find myself couldn't pull this trick 
        off in AB, probably due to lag. You could try it if you feel lucky, it 
        might save you a few gold in Light Feather's cost if you play in AB 
        often enough.


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3.2   Fire Spells

    - Fire Blast
        It suffices to say that when you are doing damage you should use Fire 
        Blast whenever the cooldown is up. Talent in the Fire tree extends its 
        range to 26 yards, which is one more than that of Warrior's Charge. 
        Therefore theoretically you could use Fire Blast to put a Warrior in 
        combat, thus preventing him from Charging you. But due to network 
        latency it's practically impossible for this to work, so use CS 
        instead. But if you have the Imp. Fire Blast talent, you could forever 
        keep a Warrior in combat, which is a useful gimmick if you want to save
        your Blink and Frost Nova for other uses; but again, this isn't always 
        practical.

    - Fire/Frost Ward
        They are quite useful against mages, warlocks, and shamans. Also worth 
        mentioning is that Fiery enchant is considered Fire damage, so you 
        should put a Fire Ward up when you see a melee class with the Fiery 
        Weapon enchantment.

    - Fireball
        It does a bit more damage than Frostbolt, so most likely you will be 
        using this as the opener after casting Polymorph. When playing against 
        melee classes, you could follow this spell with a rank 1 Frostbolt to 
        apply a snare to your target as well. Technically you could use the 
        rank 1 Fireball as a quick Damage over Time (DoT) spell, but I haven't 
        found it to be that useful. For one, the DoT only lasts eight seconds, 
        and secondly, you could always use rank 1 Blizzard or rank 1 Arcane 
        explosion to achieve the same effect.

    - Flamestrike
        Flamestrike is one of the few mage spells that I can't find a good 
        reason to use in PvP. It consumes a lot of mana, has a long casting 
        time, and about half of its damage come from DoTs. As far as I am 
        concerned, it would be simpler and more reliable if you just went in 
        and spammed AE. I suppose you could use it at strategic points to 
        reveal rogues/druids, or in high density areas, but you still need to 
        deal with the 3 second casting time. Maybe you can find some use for it
        but I didn't even purchase this spell for some of my mages.

    - Scorch
        In my opinion this should be the staple DPS spell for any (non-twink) 
        mage. First popularized by Otherguy, it excels in practically every 
        area. It has a very short casting time; it has the 2nd highest DPS with
        the amount of + spell damage gear a non-twink is likely to have at this
        level; it can trigger Impact and Clearcasting; and it is very mana 
        efficient. Use it, worship it.


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3.3   Frost Spells

    - Blizzard
        I have seen Frost mages with Imp. Blizzard in this bracket and they 
        were able to slow a group en mass. But I am still not convinced that 
        it's worth the talent points and mana costs. My philosophy is that any 
        spell, like Blizzard, that requires you to stand there for a long time 
        to cast, is not something you want to use in a PvP environment, even 
        though Blizzard could be useful at chock points like the tunnels in 
        WSG. 

        On the other hand, I would say that rank 1 Blizzard is very useful in 
        revealing rogues and druids that have just gone into stealth, or Night 
        Elves who are staying Shadowmelded -- most of them won't be expecting 
        this move so it could potentially be very profitable. You do need to 
        bind rank 1 Blizzard to an easily accessible key for that move to work,
        as you are trying to hit a moving target with a spell that doesn't have
        a very large radius of effect. In addition, you need to channel the 
        spell for about one second for the first wave of blizzard to come down;
        if you cancel the channeling before that, it won't do anything. Lastly,
        if the target is already very close, you should either run or use 
        Arcane Explosion while running, standing still in that situation is a 
        bad idea.

    - Cone of Cold (CoC)
        CoC is a very useful spell, but it is also the hardest one to use in 
        fast-paced combat. There is no good indication of its direction and 
        range, so the correct use of this spell is mostly from experience. I 
        suggest that you don't use it when your target is too close to you, 
        since CoC may miss due to lag. The level of proficiency you want to 
        reach with this spell is that you can run, jump, turn 180 degrees, CoC 
        the targets behind you, then turn another 180 degrees before you land. 
        This way you can slow your pursuers without losing any time yourself (I
        think you fly at the same speed of running). Other times you might use 
        this spell are when your target just breaks free from Frost Nova (FN); 
        or when you need to reveal a rogue that runs toward you and has just 
        used Vanish. Keep in mind that CoC costs a lot of mana, so don't use it
        on single target if you can help it.

    - Frost Nova
        A very nice area effect (AE) root spell, but the cooldown is quite 
        long, so use it only when you really need it. One thing you need to 
        watch out for is trinket or Escape Artist, which removes the root 
        effect. Therefore don't fool yourself into thinking that you are safe 
        just because your Frost Nova has hit the target, and be prepared for 
        your enemy's next move. Lastly, rank 1 of this spell is good enough.

    - Frostbolt
        Frostbolt is a favorite spell among twinks, but it isn't all that great
        until you put some related talent points in. The problem with it is the
        2.5 second casting time, which is too long for most circumstances 
        (unless you are of the type who just sit back and nuke, but where is 
        the fun in that). With talents it becomes a decent spell, especially 
        against melee classes. Regardless of your stance on Frostbolt, rank 1 
        Frostbolt should definitely be on your hotbar for getting off a quick 
        snare, which comes into use all the time.




===============================================================================
         =============================================================        =
[4]      =                        Mage Talents                       =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================


I won't discuss every talent here, only the ones you might consider. Nor will I
give you a "definitive" spec, because your spec really depends on your 
equipment and how you play.


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4.1   Arcane Tree Talents

    My suggestion is that you should stay away from a heavy Arcane build, as 
    this tree really offers very little when compared to the other two trees.

    - Arcane Focus (Reduces opponents' chance to your Arcane spells by 2%.)

        I don't know how many mages put points into this talent, but I feel the
        number is not large enough. I think you will agree with me in that this 
        talent is a really good choice once you remember the two most important
        spells you have, Polymorph and Counterspell, are both Arcane. So, what 
        do two points in this talent give you? Almost un-resistible Polymorph 
        and Counterspell (recall that an equal level opponent has a default 4% 
        chance to resist any spell, I am not sure if you can actually reduce it
        down to zero. But even if not, the chance to resist won't be higher 
        than 1% with two points in this talent). There are times you simply 
        can't afford your Polymorph or Counterspell to fail -- for instance, 
        when you are trying to return the flag and a priest is trying to heal 
        the flag carrier. And given how much you use Polymorph and 
        Counterspell, two points in here are well worth the investment. 

        Do note that this talent does nothing against regular resistance you 
        get from gears/racial traits, so you will still see resists on gnomes 
        (unlikely) and hunter's pets (quite often).


    - Imp. Arcane Missiles (Gives you a 20% chance to avoid interruption while 
                            channeling AM.)

        This is one of the better talents in this tree, although it's still not
        that useful given how often you want to use AM (hint: not very often). 
        Before Blizzard gave Instant Arcane Explosion to mages for free, I was 
        an Arcane mage (solely for the IAE), so I have some experience about 
        this talent. One place where I found this talent to be useful was 
        against hunters, as they and their pets tend to interrupt your spell 
        castings a lot, and they don't really have a silence spell. Another 
        good thing about using imp. AM against hunters is that you won't have 
        to worry about the facing any more when they try to circle around you 
        in melee range. Similarly, it could be useful when you are fighting 
        feral druids, but in that situation you should also be thinking about 
        getting out the melee range to reduce the damage you take.


    - Arcane Concentration (Gives you a 2% chance to reduce next spell's mana 
                            cost to 0.)

        This talent is mostly for PvE, where you have the leisure to switch 
        from a low mana cost spell to a high cost one when this talent procs. 
        In a PvP environment you will find that you won't have many 
        opportunities to take full advantage of this talent, unless you are the
        kind of mage who just stay behind your teammates and spam one or two 
        spells.


    - Imp. Mana Shield (Reduces the mana lost due to damage by 10%.)

        It's certainly useful, but it should be better for a tier 4 talent. 
        After you work out the math, two points in here will allow you to take 
        about 300 more damage if you start out with a full mana bar.


    - Imp. Counterspell (Gives your CS a two-second long silence effect.)

        Again, a useful talent, albeit a bit limited. Most people haven't honed
        their reflex to the point where after they get CSed they can 
        immediately switch to another school of spell. So in effect your 
        regular CS has an about 2-3 second silence effect attached to it. But 
        where this talent comes in handy is when you want to silence your 
        enemies preemptively. Two cases come to mind. One is when you are 
        fighting a priest and he is about to go down, it's a good idea to CS 
        and silence him before he can shield himself (or use something like 
        Desperate Prayer). Another instance is when you see a shaman coming at 
        you but you don't want to fight him, and you know that if you cast 
        Polymorph directly you will get Earth Shocked. In this case you can CS 
        him and then Polymorph. Now I admit that the last example is a bit 
        contrived, as the ES effect only lasts two seconds. This trick is a lot
        more useful in higher bracket, where shamans with Earth Shock, 
        Grounding Totem, Stormstrike, and Windfury can be a real danger if your 
        first Polymorph gets interrupted.


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4.2	  Fire Tree Talents

    This is a good talent tree to spec into, especially at this level. Many of 
    the first and second tier talents in this tree offer great utility without 
    needing too many points invested into them.

    - Imp. Fireball (Reduces casting time of your Fireball by 0.1 second.)

        If you are one of those mages that chain casts Fireballs (mostly only 
        twinks do that), then this is a good talent to invest in. Otherwise you
        should put the points elsewhere.


    - Impact (Gives your fire spells a 2% chance to stun for 2 secs when hit.)

        I quite like this talent, because most of the time I alternate between 
        Scorch and Fire Blast, so during the course of a fight there is a 
        reasonable chance for the stun effect to proc. Impact also gives you 
        the ability to stop someone while on the move with Fire Blast, even 
        with a 10% chance it's still better than nothing. In my video you may 
        spot me using Fire Blast on targets that I have no intention to kill, I
        do that just for the stun chance which would buy me or my teammates 
        some time.


    - Ignite (Critical strikes from fire spells cause an additional 8% of the 
              damage.)

        While quite good at higher levels, at 29 you simply don't have a high 
        enough critical chance to make the most out of this talent (you have 
        about 6% spell critical chance at this level). So I'd suggest you to 
        pass on this.


    - Flame Throwing (Increases the range of your fire spells by 3 yards.)

        Longer range is always a good thing, because the default ranges on Fire
        Blast, Scorch and Fireball are often too short when you and your 
        targets are constantly moving. You should definitely take this talent 
        if you have reached tier 2.


    - Imp. Fire Blast (Decreases the cooldown time of Fire Blast by 0.5 second)

        I like this talent quite a bit, because there are many situations where
        you don't have the luxury to stop and cast spells (e.g., when chasing a
        mage flag runner, or getting chased by a rogue). If you need to do 
        damage while on the run, then your selection of spells is very limited 
        -- it comes down to Fire Blast, Arcane Explosion, and maybe CoC -- and 
        in many cases Fire Blast is the only damaging spell available since the
        other two require you to be fairly close to your target. 


    - Incineration (Increases the critical strike chance of Fire Blast and 
                    Scorch by 2%.)

        This is a fairly good place to put your talent points in if you use 
        Scorch and Fire Blast a lot. But as most talents, it comes down to 
        personal choice. I like some of the talents in the other two trees more
        so I didn't pick this one.


    - Pyroblast

        Although Pyroblast is the most destructive opener you have, it is a bit
        unwieldy without Presence of Mind (PoM), which you won't get at this 
        level. The six-second casting time is often too long to be practical, 
        so its use will be limited. Also keep in mind that a Pyroblast only 
        does about 45 more damage than your Fireball, which has a 3.5 second 
        casting time without talents. So you can cast about two Fireballs in 
        that time frame for more damage at the expense of higher mana cost.


    - Burning Soul (Reduces the chance your fire spells get interrupted by 35%)

        It is my strong opinion that as a mage you need some spells that can't 
        be interrupted easily by damage, otherwise you won't be able to cast 
        anything when there is a fast hitting opponent (such as druids in cat 
        form with their obscenely fast attack speed) or more than one opponent 
        on you. Arcane Missile with the imp. AM talent fits the bill, but this 
        talent is also worth taking even though it maxes out at 70%, since 
        Scorch is such a short casting spell to begin with.


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4.3   Frost Tree Talents

    The frost tree affords you with more survivability than the other two, but 
    the drawback is that you really need to put many points into this tree for 
    its talents to be truly effective. Most twink mages go for 20 points in 
    this tree, which is still not enough if you ask them.

    - Imp. Frostbolt (Reduces the casting time of your Frostbolt by 0.1 second)

        Same as imp. Fireball, more useful to twink DPS mages than flag 
        carrying mages. But if you do go heavy frost this talent is essentially
        required, as you don't have any other spell that can avoid losing 
        casting time when you take damage. Also, one-second Frostbolt is very 
        useful and very hard to CS (due to lag).


    - Elemental Precision (Reduces the mana cost and chance targets resist your
                           frost and fire spells by 1%.) 

        Before Blizzard nerfed this talent from 2% down to 1%, it was probably 
        the best tier 1 talent out there from any class. It is of course still 
        very good for the same reason Arcane Focus is good, just imagine what 
        would happen when your Frost Nova gets resisted by a twink rogue =P .


    - Ice Shards (Increases the critical strike bonus of frost spells by 20%.) 

        As a frost mage, ideally you would have five points in this and five 
        points in Shatter. But at this level if you do that you won't get 
        Arctic Reach, so something has to go. I suspect most frost mages would 
        put five talent points in here and three in Shatter. This talent is 
        mostly for the tried-and-true combo of FN + Frostbolt (+CoC), which 
        could give you very good burst damage. But keep in mind that this 
        talent only works for frost spells and it almost requires you to use FN
        offensively, leaving you rather vulnerable for the next 20 seconds. My 
        personal opinion is that given the limited number of talent points you 
        have, you will be better served to put those points in talents like 
        Elemental Precision.


    - Frostbite (Gives your Chill effects a 5% chance to freeze the target for 
                 5 secs.)

        I play a few melee classes myself so I know how annoying and useful 
        this talent is. Even though the proc now shares diminishing return (DR)
        with FN, it is a very good talent that will almost certainly save you 
        in tight spots as a flag carrier. This talent is especially effective 
        in this bracket due to the large number of rogues you will encounter.


    - Imp. Frost Nova (Reduces the cooldown of your Frost Nova by 2 secs.) 

        I wish this talent were a little better (maybe 3 secs per talent 
        point), but it's still decent and should be an automatic choice for 
        most frost mages since it opens up Shatter.


    - Permafrost (Increases the duration of chill effects by 1 sec and reduces 
                  the target's speed by an additional 4%.)

        On one hand, if you put two or three points here you will definitely 
        notice the difference, the enhanced slowing effect could save you the 
        trouble of switching targets or switching spells (to rank 1 Frostbolt) 
        constantly to keep your targets snared. On the other hand, you really 
        need to think carefully about the benefits of this talent vs. those of 
        the other talents, because this talent doesn't offer that much for a 
        single point. I don't have much experience on this talent in this 
        bracket, so you will have to try it out yourself.


    - Piercing Ice (Increases your frost damages by 2%.)

        The extra damage granted by this talent is negligible at this level, 
        put your points elsewhere.


    - Cold Snap (Instantly finishes all cooldowns on your frost spells.)

        I feel the cooldown for this spell is a bit too long, and without Ice 
        Block or other nice frost spells at this level, it's a bit hard to 
        justify one talent point for something you only use once every 10 
        minutes (and probably solely for FN, though you can activate it for an 
        extra CoC too).


    - Imp. Blizzard (Adds a chill effect to your Blizzard so that it lowers the
                     target's speed by 30%.)

        As I said in the Mage Spells section, mages really don't get many 
        chances to use Blizzard. If you want an AE snare spell just use CoC.


    - Arctic Reach (Increases the range or radius of your frost spells by 10%.)

        Just put two points in here if you've come this far down the frost 
        tree, nothing else needs to be said.


    - Frost Channeling (Reduces the mana cost of your frost spells by 5%.)

        This is more of a PvE talent than a PvP one, as mana efficiency isn't a
        big concern in PvP.


    - Shatter (Increases your spell critical strike chance on frozen targets by
               10%.)

        This talent is quite good when you can put five points in here and 
        another five in Ice Shards, it's almost as though you get a PoM once 
        every 21 seconds. But again, don't get too carried away with spamming 
        FN the first chance you have for that big critical hit, you might need 
        it later when things don't go as planned.




===============================================================================
         =============================================================        =
[5]      =                 Miscellaneous Information                 =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================

There are a few things that don't quite fit into the other sections, but I feel
they should be laid out first before we go into the real PvP section of this 
guide.


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5.1	  Race / Racial Traits

    If you are starting a new mage, then I'd suggest you to roll a Gnome for 
    the Alliance side and an Undead for the Horde side. Escape Artist and Will 
    of the Forsaken are both immensely more useful than the racial traits you 
    get from other races. A few words about these two abilities:
		
    - Escape Artist
        Its incredibly short 1-min cooldown means you can almost use it 
        whenever you like, and you can go for the flag more frequently and have
        a much easier time when you do. The only drawback of this spell is 
        that, unlike the Insignia, it shares the same GCD as the rest of your 
        spells, you will find that to be very restricting at times.

    - Will of the Forsaken
        Gone are the days when it granted a full 20 seconds of immunity against
        Fear/Charm/Sleep, but you almost always use it for breaking the effects
        so it's no big deal. Most of the time you want to activate it after you
        have been feared/charmed, but some situations call for its preemptive 
        use. Example, you are carrying the flag and don't want to lose any time
        and current heading, then you should activate it before you get feared.
        But know that the next fear will last its full duration, so you should 
        take that into consideration too when you use WotF this way. 

        Finally, sometimes it's just better to not break the Fear/Seduction (at
        least not initially). When you are under the fear effect you run faster
        than you normally would, so it could get you out of a troubled spot if 
        the heading is right. Similarly, enemies might ignore you when you are 
        being charmed, if that's the case you can just let the charm effect run
        its course and break out when you think the time is right.


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5.2   Profession

    - Engineering

        If you are serious about PvPing in this bracket, then you should 
        definitely take Engineering as your profession, just for the Iron 
        Grenade (though the profession offers some other goodies too). Here are
        some of the engineering items you may find useful:
		
        Iron Grenade: If you have a main farming the ore/stone/cloth for you, 
            it won't take you more than an hour to get your engineering up to 
            the level required for creating Iron Grenade. It's cheap to make, 
            and come in handy in every battle. Use it when you are chasing 
            someone, when you are being chased, when you try to interrupt a 
            spell, or when you want to give yourself some extra time to cast a 
            spell. But its most spectacular use comes in AB, where a single 
            Iron Grenade can stun every person who's trying to capture a 
            resource node. It's 3-yard blast radius takes a while to get used 
            to, just keep throwing it and eventually you will understand how to
            use it correctly.

            I can only offer one advice regarding its use: the game seems to 
            account for some latency between clients and server. What this 
            means for Iron Grenade is that when used against a moving target, 
            you shouldn't aim for the spot that he will be in 1.5 seconds, but 
            slightly behind it (relative to his direction of motion). If you do
            it this way, it should hit him; if you don't, I guarantee you that 
            the grenade will miss even though it explodes right on top of him 
            on your screen.
			

        Goblin Rocket Helm: Available only to Gnomes due to its 235 engineering
            requirement. It offers excellent amount of hp for flag carriers, 
            and its charge ability has the potential of changing the outcome of
            a game. Its long cooldown (20 min) isn't too big of a concern, 
            because as a mage you are quite fast so you only need it in the 
            most dire situations. Just for the record, the charge counts as a 
            Disorient effect and thus shares the DR with skills like Gouge, and
            the effect can be dispelled.


        Gnomish Net-o-Matic Projector: Normally it's a risky item to use, but 
            since mages can blink out of the net (Escape Artist works too), its
            adverse effect is almost a non-issue. I find it to be moderately 
            useful, not as much as the Goblin Rocket Helm's charge by 
            comparison.


        Goblin Sapper Charge: This explosive device produces a very high amount
            of damage that could very well surprise your targets. I haven't 
            tried it myself since my mage doesn't have much hp to begin with, 
            but if you have the hp to spare it could be a useful asset.


        Catseye Ultra Goggles: This item greatly increases your stealth 
            detection, to the point that you can spot a rogue about 5-8 yards 
            away. But keep in mind that if he has specced into Master of 
            Deception then he can get a lot closer to you before you can see 
            him, probably too close for you to react.

            This item isn't as essential to mages as it is to some other 
            classes, since you have many AE spells that break stealth. But 
            there are times you want to see the rogues sooner so that you can 
            control them before they get into melee range, so it is still 
            useful.

            You should also know that these goggles are not strong enough in 
            seeing through the "Improved Stealth" state rogue enters when he 
            hits Vanish, in that situation use your AE spells instead.


    - Herbalist (Alchemy)

        There are quite a few potions that will aid you in PvP when used at the
        right moments. Other than the usual healing or mana potions, having a 
        few Swiftness Potion and Free Action Potion (FAP) on hand would never 
        hurt anyone. As a plus, you can find all the necessary herbs in areas 
        fairly accessible to players in the 20-29 range. My take on potions is 
        that most PuG games aren't worth the effort/gold for potions like FAP, 
        but if you are serious about the BG and are well funded, then go for it
        -- I've seen people who chug potions like there is no tomorrow.


    - Jewelcrafting

        Unfortunately, some decent items produced by this profession have level 
        requirement, like the Golden Hare figurine, which requires you to be 
        level 35 to use. Notable exceptions to this are the statues. I don't 
        have the expansion pack so I can't be sure, but from the look of it you
        should be able to use Dense Stone Statue at level 29 (since it only 
        requires 225 Jewelcrafting). If so then it could be quite useful, as it
        heals for over 1000 hp, and unlike bandage, it is not interrupted by 
        damage. 

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5.3   Other Useful Items

    - Anti-Venom
        Created from Small Venom Sac, this patch instantly removes any poison 
        effect on you, perfect for countering the Crippling Poison from rogues 
        when you want to save your trinket for other uses. This is treated as a
        bandage, so you will get a 1-min long "Recently Bandaged" debuff, which
        should expire soon enough. You can go to Stonetalon Mountains to farm 
        the Small Venom Sac; the spiders in Loch Modan may drop them too, 
        though you should ascertain that at places like WoWHead.

    - Jungle Remedy
        Dropped by those doctors at the NE corner of Stranglethorn Vale, this 
        potion also removes any poison effect. It's less desirable than the 
        Anti-Venom patch since it shares cooldown with other potions, but 
        nothing says you can't have both.


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5.4   My Keybinding

    I mentioned previously that a good keybinding scheme will make or break 
    your mage, so here I will list the keys I use just for your reference and 
    consideration. For a more elaborate and efficient keybind, check out 
    Otherguy's Sorrow Hill 5.

    I use two rows of the main hotbar (row one and row six according to the 
    game), and use three more to the sides. You can get a clearer picture of 
    this after watching my video.

    Note that some spells (like Polymorph) appear on more than one bar. Those 
    are the spells that I want to be able to use regardless of which hotbar I 
    am currently on. So in a more efficient keybinding scheme I should move 
    them to one of those fixed hotbars (2, 3, 4 in my case), and reserve the 
    slots in row one and row six only for those spells that I want to use some 
    of the time. I have used this scheme for quite a while now for all my mages
    so I am a bit reluctant to change it. But if you are a young, aspiring mage
    you should definitely consider what I just said and try not to have 
    repeated spells on your hotbars.

    - Row One (Home Row)
        1 - Fireball
        2 - Rank 1 Frostbolt
        3 - Rank 1 Frost Nova
        4 - Polymorph
        5 - unused
        6 / Shift+E - Rank 1 Arcane Explosion
        7 / Shift+D - Blink
        8 / Shift+C - Mana Shield
        9 / Mouse 3 - Fire Blast
        0 / Mouse 5 - Arcane Explosion
        - - Arcane Intellect
        = - Frost Armor

    - Row Six
        1 - Fire Ward
        2 - Frost Ward
        3 - Remove Lesser Curse
        4 - Polymorph
        6 / Shift+E - Blizzard
        7 / Shift+D - Blink
        8 / Shift+C - Mana Shield
        9 / Mouse 3 - Fire Blast

    - Bottom Right Bar
        Q - Frostbolt
        E - Cone of Cold
        C - Scorch
        F - Counterspell
        G - Arcane Missiles
        X - Rank 1 Blizzard

    - Other
        Shift+R - Iron Grenade
        Shift+F - Mana Gem
        Ctrl+Spc - Anti Venom
        Z - Will of the Forsaken / Insignia of the Alliance
        Shift+Spc - Insignia of the Horde / Escape Artist
        Mouse Wheel Up - switch to Row Six
        Mouse Wheel Down - switch to Row One
        A - Strafe Left (Strafing allows you to move at maximum speed while 
                         casting spells on those that are behind you)
        W - Forward
        S - Backward
        D - Strafe Right
        Mouse 4 - Auto Run



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5.5   My Talent Spec

    Before Blizzard gave Instant Arcane Explosion to mages for free, I had a 
    heavy Arcane build. Currently all my 29 mages are specced 2/14/6 as such: 
    http://www.wowhead.com/?talent=RMZVMh0bZMho

    The reason for going with this spec should be clear if you've read the Mage
    Talent section. Basically I try to get as many utilities as possible out of
    the 20 points I have. Two points in Arcane Focus is definitely well spent. 
    I put 14 points into fire to get the stun, longer range on my fire spells 
    (mostly Fire Blast and Scorch), ~20% shorter cooldown on the spell that I 
    use all the time, and a chance for my fire spells to resist damage 
    interruption to some extent (good to have since I don't have Imp. Arcane 
    Missiles). For the frost tree, I went for lower resist rates again, and one
    point in Frostbite to make my life a bit easier against melee classes.

    The best part about this spec is versatility. The fire talents will make it
    easier to cast something while being hit (such as when I go return the 
    flag), while the arcane and frost talents will allow me to CC more 
    effectively and survive longer. Although it is by no means a perfect spec 
    (if there is such as thing), it suits my role in the BGs very well.


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5.6   Add-Ons

    I am one of those minimalists that try to keep the interface as clean as 
    possible. I think human eyes and brains can only process information at a 
    certain rate, and if you overload them by clustering your screen with 
    non-essential information, you may very well miss something important along
    the way.

    Therefore I pretty much just use the default interface, with enemy casting 
    bar and combat text turned on (the one that shows the damage you are
    taking, not the combat log, which I normally have it off unless I am 
    shooting a PvP video). The two add-ons that I use are:

    - Class Viewer
        It will display your target's class as a draggable icon, I find it to 
        be very handy since I switch my targets very often and I simply don't 
        have the time to look at the tooltip on the lower right corner every 
        time. 

    - Omni Cooldown
        It will overlay a numerical value on spells that are on cooldown. This 
        will make it easier for you to see which spells are on a cooldown and 
        help you to time your spells better.

    Together they use about 50KB of memory.

    Recently I've added Skinner as my third mod. It just makes the default 
    interface look prettier with semi-transparent panes with a glossy black 
    background. It uses about 1 MB of memory.




===============================================================================
         =============================================================        =
[6]      =                  Defeating Other Players                  =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================


Even though you should avoid most hostile encounters to save time and mana, 
they are inevitable, therefore you should know how to handle them. Here I will 
give you some general strategies on how to beat each of the classes in this 
game. I also mark the difficulty of these classes with one, two, or three 
stars, with three stars being the most difficult. This ranking system assumes 
their equipment is on equal footing with yours (i.e., average), and they have 
average skill. All twinks can be assumed to be of "hard" difficulty.


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6.1   Druid (**)
        You will find more feral druids than restoration druids. Restoration 
        druids shouldn't pose too much trouble since most of them just spam a 
        few Moonfire and maybe heal when needed, so just nuke away and CS when 
        they are low on health. Feral druids are a bit different. Because they 
        can shift out of Polymorph, I generally just open with Fire Blast and 
        continue with Scorch. When they get close, either FN or CoC to get some
        distance. The only thing you need to worry about is their attack speed 
        in cat form, which is once per second without counting the special 
        movies (but of course your Frost Armor will slow them a bit), that's 
        why having some spells that are hard to interrupt is vital when 
        fighting a druid. In Bear Form they can probably root you with Feral 
        Charge and stun you with Bash. You can blink out of both, but generally
        I save my Blink for Bash, since some of them will try to shift out and 
        heal when you are stunned. Basically you just gradually DPS them down 
        with your instant and fast spells, you could use Mana Shield if you are
        frost specced, but it will drain your mana at an alarming rate under 
        the cat form's DPS, so beware.

      Twink Druid
        Basically treat them the same as regular druids, but watch for your hp 
        as they can dish out some damage fast if you are not careful. Watch out
        for the impending Feral Charge when they are in Bear Form and suddenly 
        retreat from you, as it interrupts your spellcasting and applies a mini
        CS effect on that school of spell. Keep your distance for as long as 
        possible, which means run from time to time while waiting for your 
        cooldowns to finish.


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6.2   Hunter (***)
        Hunter is always hard to deal with due to their range, damage, and pet.
        When you see one, run toward him so he is about 20 yards away, then 
        Blink in. If his pet is right next to him, FN; otherwise you might want
        to wait for a few seconds for that pet to get close to you before using
        FN. While staying in the dead zone, try to Polymorph the pet to make 
        your life a bit easier, but don't be surprised if it resists your 
        Polymorph. If it does resist, you are probably better off forgetting 
        about the pet and focus on the hunter, as the FN is going to break 
        soon. While the hunter is still being rooted, use a snare like 
        Frostbolt on him so he can't run away easily. Thereafter you should 
        just stay close to him, preferably in the dead zone but within melee 
        range is also acceptable. Have your CoC, rank 1 Frostbolt, or Blink 
        ready when he trinkets. It will be a pretty close fight, but you should
        come on top at the end. As a final note, it might be a good idea to use
        Mana Shield at times, but you should watch your mana and don't allow it
        to go too low -- you will need it.

      Twink Hunter
        Now this is getting really tough. Unless you are twinked too I don't 
        think you can survive this, so I strongly recommend you to Polymorph 
        the hunter and just run. There are two kinds of twinked hunters: 
        Marksman and Survival. If anything, the Survival variant is even more 
        dangerous for reasons you will see shortly. Both of them do tremendous 
        amount of ranged damage (Auto Shot and Arcane Shot crit in the range of
        300), and you can expect they keep boars as their pets, as they have 
        the charge ability that temporarily stops your movement. What you do, 
        as usual, is Blink in and FN him and the pet. Try to Polymorph the pet, 
        and open up on the hunter. The hunter will melee you at first, at least
        to apply Wing Clip. If he's Survival this could get really ugly because
        his Wing Clip might have a chance to root you and his Raptor Strike may
        very well crit for over 400+ damage. Assuming you can move, try to slow
        and follow him for as long as you can -- you don't want to allow him to
        use his ranged weapon on you. But don't just run right behind him in a 
        straight line, as there is a good chance you will get frozen by the 
        trap he's just laid down while running. Instead, follow him but run 
        along side of him, this way you can see the trap as well as avoid it. 
        Quite frankly, your chance is minimal against a hunter with 2000+ hp 
        while you only have about 1400, just do as much damage as you can, use 
        Iron Grenade when needed, and pray for the best.


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6.3   Mage (**)
        Mage vs. Mage is evidently a balanced fight, and quite a fun one too. I
        almost never open with Polymorph, because that will just give the other
        side a chance to CS me, plus my Fireball or Frostbolt doesn't do that 
        much more damage than a simple Fire Blast. So normally I just open with
        Fire Blast, and put up Fire Ward (which is usually more useful than 
        Frost Ward) to absorb some incoming damage. After this I just spam 
        Scorch and Fire Blast, use FN and CoC when needed. I find that many 
        mages will try to Polymorph you, if that's the case, just CS him. You 
        should also CS any Arcane Missiles he may cast, as it's a fairly 
        dangerous spell. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to be 
        mobile. If he is wasting time to cast something like Frostbolt, run 
        around him a bit and cast instant spells while circling him.

      Twink Mage
        If you know what you are doing, most twink mages won't present more 
        trouble than regular mages because they can't take full advantage of 
        their high spell damage against a fellow Mage, as you can just CS any 
        long casting spells like Frostbolt. Just use Scorch, Fire Blast, and 
        move when your spells are on GCD. If you get FNed, Blink out. If you 
        have used your CS on their Frostbolt and he is switching to something 
        like Arcane Missiles, use your Iron Grenade to interrupt him and give 
        yourself some breathing room. You can also Blink behind him right 
        before he finishes spells like Fireball to confuse him, but be careful 
        of the FN so don't get too close to him either. Another thing you can 
        try is faking Polymorph to bait his CS; if he fell for it, you could 
        cast anything you like in the next 20 seconds or so.


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6.4   Paladin (*)
        Paladins don't present much threat, since they have to get close to you
        to do some decent damage. Just Polymorph, open with your big spells, 
        cast a rank 1 Frostbolt to see if he knows to counter with Blessing of 
        Freedom (BoF). If he does, you can either run and cast Fire Blast while
        waiting for the BoF to expire, or you can just stand there and cast 
        your regular spells to make things go faster -- though I suggest you to
        run/kite a bit if he is using weapons like Corpsemaker. Most paladins 
        only start to heal with Holy Light when their health drops down to the 
        30% range, a CS and a few instants should be able to finish them off in
        that case. 
    
        More experienced paladins may Flash of Light themselves when they are 
        around 70% or so, and keep their health around that level throughout. 
        This could be problematic because you may run out of mana before they 
        do. One thing you could try after they've healed back to full health is
        Polymorph them, regain the distance and cast your opener again. Repeat 
        a few times to see if there is a noticeable drop in their mana. If so, 
        you are winning the fight. If not, they are probably not worth the 
        trouble anyway, just wait 15 seconds to reset the diminishing return, 
        Polymorph, then ignore them. 

        If you really have to kill the paladin, try to use an Iron Grenade 
        before he starts to heal, and cast your damage spells. This could do 
        400-500 damage, which should represent 30-40% of his health. If the 
        paladin bubbles, you should count for about four seconds while running 
        away from him, and then start casting your opener - it should hit him 
        the right after the bubble fades.

      Twink Paladin
        Unless you are twinked, you won't have enough mana to take down a twink
        paladin that heals. So the smartest thing to do is just Polymorph and 
        run. If you have to take him down, wait for a teammate to do it with 
        you. One thing you need to watch out for is that twink paladin at this 
        level does a lot of damage, think them as an unkitable twink warrior 
        with healing spells, so try to stay out of melee range for as long as 
        you can.

        Another thing, there are many twink paladins that play support roles 
        only, you can usually tell by their glowy mace and a shield. If that's 
        the case, you should be CC them while you or your group is focused on 
        the main target, since those paladins are extremely tough to take down 
        unless your teammates are very coordinated. So just do whatever you can
        -- Polymorph, CS, Iron Grenade, etc. -- to prevent them from healing 
        your primary target.


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6.4   Priest (*)
        Priest is another one of those classes you may or may not have the mana
        to take down. Their damage output is very poor in this bracket, so you 
        shouldn't have much trouble in killing an average priest if he decides 
        to stay and fight. If he runs, keep up with him by using your snares 
        and Blink. Things get more interesting if the said priest constantly 
        heal himself with Renew and Flash Heal, in that case just do what you 
        do against a healing paladin, but you may run out of mana first before 
        it's over.

        Most of the time you will see the priest stays behind a group. In that
        case you should try your best to prevent him from healing. For example,
        if you are unloading your DPS on one target, change your camera angle 
        so that the priest is within your view as well. As soon as you see him 
        starts to heal, switch your target and CS. If you are specced into 
        Imp. CS, use it when he is low on health so he can't shield himself. 
        Finally, if you see a priest closes in on you, prepare to break out the
        impending Psychic Scream.

      Twink Priest
        One of the toughest and smartest players I've fought was a twink 
        priest. No matter what I try, he manages to keep both his health and 
        mana bars close to full. He has so much mana regeneration that the 
        usual Polymorph trick doesn't work. You may also see a twink priest 
        that just puts a DoT on you then proceeds to wand, which is 
        surprisingly effective. In most situations you won't have to kill the 
        priest, just the person he's healing. If your group's DPS isn't that 
        high, you should zerg the priest first. Otherwise, you should try to 
        keep the healing under control.


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6.5   Rogue (**)
        Rogue is one of the most popular classes in this bracket, and the good 
        news is that most rogue players aren't that great. But that doesn't 
        mean you should under-estimate them, because a rogue is highly 
        dangerous if he is willing to use a few cooldowns. 

        The fight against rogues that don't use cooldowns is fairly 
        straightforward. If he opens with Cheap Shot, just Blink out and 
        Polymorph. If he opens with Ambush you can either Blink or FN, but 
        Blink may be a bit safer just in case he trinkets out of the FN (or 
        uses Escape Artist). Once he's Polymorphed, you should wait for the 
        Crippling Poison to expire before casting your opener. The best opener 
        for most mages is Fireball, which does a bit more damage than Frostbolt
        at this level and applies a short DoT. If you open with that, be sure 
        to follow up with a rank 1 Frostbolt to keep him snared. Here is an 
        important but obvious fact: that unless the rogue is within melee range
        he can't hurt you. So keep rotating between rank 1 Frostbolt, FN, CoC 
        and maybe even Blink to stay away from him. If he is running toward you
        and you want to Polymorph him, turn your back toward him so you can't 
        get Gouged, but don't do it too early either or he will just Backstab 
        you. If you keep kiting, he should go down fairly fast.

        Now, the fight against a rogue with cooldowns a lot more technical, 
        the critical thing to remember here is that you should try to keep at 
        least one of your FN or Blink up at all times, move away a bit to run 
        down the timers if you must. Assuming he opens with Ambush, Blink out 
        and try to Polymorph. If he vanishes, you could either try to run 
        toward his last known location and spam rank 1 AE, or run away to let 
        your health regenerate a bit and wait for the cooldown on Blink to 
        expire. If you are fast, you can even use rank 1 Blizzard after he 
        vanishes. But he will be very close to you even if your Blizzard 
        reveals his location, so be prepared. Regardless of what happens, once 
        you see him again try to snare him and get some distances before 
        Polymorph, which should land. There is no benefit for him to trinket 
        out right away since he is still in combat and can't stealth, but if he
        does trinket out when you are casting your opener, then Blizzard or use
        CS to keep him in combat before re-applying Polymorph. Now do your 
        opener and the usual snare, and basically kite while doing damage 
        intermittently with Fire Blast, Scorch and Frostbolt. If during this he
        vanishes while being fairly distant away from you, see above for what 
        you should do. If he vanishes right next to you, either use CoC in his 
        direction, FN, or rank 1 AE and Blink. If he uses Sprint, you can't 
        hope to outrun him. In this case just FN and freeze him when he gets 
        close enough; or you can use Polymorph if he hasn't lost much hp up 
        till that point, which should land right before he reaches you. One 
        last note, I don't know why but only a very small fraction of the rogue
        population use Kick, which is a mini CS and should be one of the most 
        useful skills a rogue has. You should still watch out for it since you 
        don't want to have your Arcane tree or Frost tree locked down at the 
        most critical moment, so be mindful your long casts.

        Everything above assumes the rogues open on you first. But if you see 
        the rogue first, you could just CS him to prevent him from going into 
        stealth or use Blizzard if he does.

        If the rogue catches you with Crippling Poison, there are a few ways to
        remove it. You can 1. trinket out; 2. drink a Jungle Remedy potion; 3. 
        apply the Anti-Venom patch; or 4. use Escape Artist if you are a gnome.
        But you should be very careful as to when to use them, because they all
        have their associated cooldowns, and they won't help you much when the 
        rogue isn't slowed or rooted himself.

      Twink Rogue
        You have to play very well to fend off or kill a twink rogue. First, 
        location is important. A big open field is good for you, as it affords 
        plenty of spaces for you to kite; while a closed quarter, such as 
        inside a WSG flag room, is much better for him, because he can exploit 
        the line-of-sight (LoS) to restrict your spellcasting and has an easier
        time to restealth. Second, twink rogue does a lot of burst damage and 
        won't be afraid to use all sorts of cooldowns (including engineering 
        items) when the situation demands it. Therefore you should monitor your
        health closely, put up a Mana Shield when it falls below half; and 
        ideally you should have things like Iron Grenade and items that remove 
        the Crippling Poison to even out the playing field. As to the specifics
        of the encounter, treat it the same as rogues with cooldowns. The only 
        thing different here is that you shouldn't be afraid to run when the 
        fight isn't going your way, such as when he lands a big opener or uses 
        a few cooldowns. Remember that his cooldowns aren't short and his 
        damage is very much dependent on luck. So you may very well have a much
        better chance of defeating him after you have run away and replenished 
        your health and mana.


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6.7   Shaman (***)
        As mentioned in the introduction, I have a lot more experience fighting
        shamans in the 40s (a pure nightmare, hehe) than in the 20s, but 
        shamans are easier to deal with in the 20s anyway. With Lightning 
        Shield, Shocks, and a big 2H weapon, shamans can do a fearful amount of
        DPS while retaining the ability to heal themselves, hence I consider 
        them to be of "hard" difficulty. There is only one rule in fighting a 
        shaman -- don't allow them to melee you. You should always keep a snare
        effect on him. If you get slowed by Frost Shock or Earthbind Totem, use
        FN or Blink to get away. Almost all shamans I've seen are offensive 
        minded, so they won't start healing until their health is fairly low, 
        which presents a perfect opportunity for CS. You can also put up a Fire
        Ward or Frost Ward to mitigate some damage from either the totems or 
        the shocks, but they could be purged so you can't rely on them to 
        reduce damage: the only sure way to reduce damage is staying out of the 
        melee range.

      Twink Shaman
        Twink shamans don't offer anything new, other than a bit more hp and a 
        much better weapon, so the same strategy applies. You may want to fake 
        a Polymorph at the start to let him use Earth Shock, after which you 
        can Polymorph without being interrupted (though he might be within 
        melee range by now). If you have imp. CS, you can also CS right away 
        and then Polymorph. If you do that, I suggest you to wait a while 
        before nuking him so that your CS won't be on cooldown for too long 
        when the fight starts.

        (Contributed by Deeps of the Emerald Dream server, the very same one 
        that you see in my video toward the end of the section on AB)
        
        Some shamans love to Purge every buff you have, if that's the case you 
        can apply Rank 1 Frost Armor to yourself after each Purge to keep him 
        casting Purge each time. The advantage is that it costs you almost no 
        mana for the Frost Armor but repeated Purge will put a heavy drain on 
        his mana.

        (My response) I think I've tried it before and if I recall correctly, 
        Purge doesn't cost that much mana for this to be a real profitable 
        move. But you as the reader should definitely try it out, as Deeps is 
        easily one of the most innovative, experienced, (and skilled, I might 
        add =) ) PvPers I've known.


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6.8   Warlock (*)
        Warlocks are rather easy at this level. You can remove his Curse of 
        Agony (CoA) or Curse of Tongues with Remove Lesser Curse, and use Fire 
        Ward to counter his Immolate or Searing Pain. If he tries to cast Fear 
        or Shadow Bolt, CS him (in fact you should almost always CS when he's 
        casting a shadow spell, this way he can't spam Fear either). So a 
        warlock really doesn't have a lot of ways to hurt you. The pet he uses 
        does add some variations to this fight.

        If he uses the Imp, it's better to Polymorph the warlock and kill the 
        Imp first, since it's high speed of attack will interrupt your 
        spellcasting. 

        If he uses a succubus, you could either kill her or keep out of melee 
        range by using CoC and FN. Ideally you should kill her first, but you 
        may run into mana problems later depending the gears you and your 
        opponent have. 

        As for the Voidwalker, it has too much health and does almost no 
        damage, therefore you can just leave it alone. Now there is a chance 
        that the warlock will Sacrifice his Voidwalker, in which case you won't
        have enough mana to take down that shield. If that happens just run 
        away, he has no way of catching up to you.

      Twink Warlock
        They generally stack on + Shadow Damage gear and DoT people to death. 
        +200 shadow damage in this bracket isn't unheard of, it is therefore 
        imperative that you remove the CoA (you can still let it tick once or 
        twice, since most of the damage won't come in until later). If he uses 
        Drain Life, either CS that or, if you don't want to use CS or don't 
        have it up at that moment, use Arcane Missiles. Finally, if your health
        is getting a bit low, put up a Mana Shield to absorb some of that 
        magical damage. You should trinket (or WotF) out of the fear or 
        seduction the first time you are under such effect, because it has the 
        longest duration. Subsequent fear/seduction usually don't last long 
        enough for your to use cooldowns on unless the warlock has a lot of 
        + shadow damage gear.


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6.9   Warrior (*)
        Warriors should be quite easy for most mages, but again, never 
        under-estimate their damage once they get close. In many cases you will
        see the warrior before he gets a chance to Charge you, if so, just CS 
        him to put him in combat, Polymorph, then kite. As with rogues, the 
        warrior may choose to use trinket or racial trait to remove the snare, 
        so you should always have a backup spell at your disposal, such as CoC 
        or FN. The only trick that a warrior has is the Intimidating Shout, 
        which freezes you in spot thus buys him some time to either get out of 
        FN or get close to you. But the effect is broken by any damage and has 
        a fairly short range, so generally he can only use it at the start, 
        right after he charges you and you use FN. The skill is on a 3-min 
        cooldown hence warriors won't use it all the time, but you need to be 
        prepared just in case. 

        If the warrior manages to Charge you first, just Blink out (if you use 
        FN you may run into the problem mentioned above and may be forced to 
        trinket early). Polymorph, let the Hamstring expire, then kite.

        If you time it right, you can also Blink the moment he Charges, which 
        won't give him a chance to Hamstring you so you can safely Polymorph.

      Twink Warrior
        You can expect twink warriors to have more than 2000 hp, while some of 
        the very well geared ones could get to about 2400 without a shield. You
        may just have enough mana to take him down if you don't use Mana 
        Shield, but it could be rather risky since once you get below 20% hp he
        can use Execute, which does quite a bit of instant damage when his rage
        bar is full. On top of this, twink warriors typically have an about 15%
        critical hit rate and crit for 400+ on cloth. But your strategy against
        a twinked warrior remains the same, that as long as he can't reach you 
        he can't hurt you. Just be extra careful when you kite, once he gets 
        close to you and puts on a Hamstring, you and he are pretty much at the
        same speed regardless of what snares he has on him.




===============================================================================
         =============================================================        =
[7]      =                Playing in the Battleground                =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================

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7.1   Playing in a Pickup Group

      I reckon that 90-95% of the time that I spend in a BG is with a PuG, so I
      have a few words to say about this, to say the least.

      On one hand, playing in a PuG is a great way to meet new people, allies 
      or enemies alike. It is also a very good for you to improve your skills 
      if you are a newcomer, since most people in a PuG have regular gear, just
      like you; and have below average to average PvP skills, just like you 
      when you first start out. Even after you get better at PvP, the few 
      twinks in a PuG would offer greater challenge for you to elevate your 
      skills to a higher level. And if your PuG is organized and work on the 
      objective, it will provide a very smooth and fun experience that will 
      make you beckon for more.

      But, most PuGs aren't organized, and you can't expect them to work on the
      objective. Most players in a PuG would just defend in the flag room 
      (euphemism for "turtle") or fight endless in the middle if they were in 
      WSG; or move from resource node to resource node like Merry-Go-Round in 
      AB. You could do things yourself, but there is no guarantee that they 
      would help. You could give them directions, but there is no guarantee 
      that they would listen. And it only takes a few matches like this to 
      leave you utterly frustrated at BG.

      As such, there are a few observations and guidelines that might help you 
      to get through the ugly part of the PuG experience.

      - Never rely on other people to get anything done, unless those people 
        have proven otherwise. This means that in WSG you have to get the flag,
        return the flag, and escort your flag carrier; and that in AB you have 
        to defend a resource node.

      - Never think that your teammates will help or listen. PuGs are 
        unorganized by definition, thus you either have to do everything 
        yourself, which isn't really possible; or do as much as you can and 
        somehow convince or coax the others to do the rest. For example, you 
        may have to deliberately carry the flag into your PuG to gain some 
        protection rather than expecting them to come and help you.

      - Communicate often. You can't hope to order people around in a PuG, but 
        you can instill a believe in them that you are in control of the game 
        and thus they should probably listen to what you say. You can do this 
        by saturating the BG channel with useful information. For example, when 
        you are going to get the flag, tell them which way you will coming out.
        When you get the flag, tell them to stop the enemies chasing after you.
        When your flag is taken, warn them to watch for the enemy flag carrier.
        And let them know when they do something right, a little encouragement 
        goes a long way.

      - Only consider giving up the match when you are the only one who's 
        trying. The reason for this is that you simply can't do everything 
        yourself in a 10-man or 15-man BG. If you are the sole player battling 
        over the objectives, your effort will come to naught at the end (and I 
        speak this from experience). So in that situation the harder you try, 
        the more disappointed and frustrated you will be. It's therefore much 
        better to save the energy and resources (like Iron Grenade) for matches
        that they will make a difference in. But on the other hand, never 
        concede the match when there is at least another person on your team 
        who's trying. Sometimes two good and determined players is all it takes
        to win a match.

        I don't want you to take this the wrong way. Even though I say this, I 
        still often fight till the very last minute in hopeless battles. I 
        think it's good to push yourself to the limit from time to time to 
        expose any areas you may need to improve upon, and you certainly will 
        gain some valuable experience along the way. All I am saying is that 
        you shouldn't reach the point where you can't take any more of this 
        game. A game is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, never forget that.


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7.2   Playing Against a Premade Group

    Here premade refers to a group of very well geared and coordinated players 
    (usually of the same guild) from the same server. They provide the greatest
    challenge and fun you can possibly have from PvP.

    Of course, if you are not twinked, you will probably die many, many times. 
    But that doesn't mean you don't belong or you can't contribute to the team. 

    When you are playing against premade (whether you are in one or not), you 
    probably need to adjust your role from primary objective taker to support, 
    that is crowd control. The reason for this change is simple: you won't 
    survive very long if you are holding the flag or are the sole 
    defender/attacker on a resource node. But if you let the more durable 
    classes and players to do the heavy lifting, you won't be under too much 
    pressure thus you can utilize your Polymorph, snares, CS to their maximum 
    effect.

    But of course there are always exceptions. If you are a well very geared 
    mage you can still be a very successful flag runner, or some other role you
    desire. Just do what you think is best for your team.




===============================================================================
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[8]      =                       Warsong Gulch                       =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================


Finally we've come to the crux of this guide. Though this and the following 
section on Arathi Basin may constitute a disproportionately small part, they 
demand the mastery of every bit of knowledge and skill written before them if 
you want to be truly successful in the BGs. I'd also like to point out that 
part of that knowledge and skill is gained from playing in the BG, so you 
should see these two sections and those above as having a parallel relationship
rather than a purely linear one.


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8.1   Getting To The Flag

    This step is usually very easy. Since most of the time the center of the 
    map is heavily contested, my normal route after jumping off from the GY is 
    running along the edge of the map. You can use the foliage and other 
    obstacles to further conceal yourself. I feel this step is slightly 
    easier for the Horde since their path is much dimmer, but the differences 
    should be minor. Once you get to the other side, walk up the ramp and enter
    the enemy base through the 2nd floor. In more competitive matches, you may 
    want to vary your point of entry a bit and enter through the tunnel. 
    However, in most games this is a poor choice because you will be spotted 
    halfway up the tunnel, and it is very easy to set up a bottleneck in the 
    tunnel. 

    Once you get to the flag room (FR), and assuming you are on the 2nd floor, 
    you could first use one or two Blizzard to reveal any hidden hunters and 
    rogues if you know they are guarding the flag. Otherwise just jump down and
    take the flag. There used to be an imbalance between the two bases: the 
    Horde players could just jump down from the 2nd floor and take the flag 
    while in mid-air, while you couldn't do that as Alliance. This has been 
    fixed in a most recent patch (to my dismay, hehe), now both sides have to 
    walk to the flag area to take the flag.

    Now, once in a while you will find that the center of the map is crawling 
    with hunters, making getting to the other side almost impossible. If that's
    the case, you could either ask your stealthier friends to go to the other 
    side, or try to get through while the enemies are occupied. In all these 
    years I don't recall a single group that completely locks down the center 
    from start to finish, so there always are some openings, you just need to 
    be patient. However, in situations like this you also need to think about 
    how you are going to get the flag back to your base once you have it, 
    because then you will be a very visible target.


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8.2   Getting Away With The Flag

    Here comes one of the hardest parts of this game, that is to return to your
    base with the flag. You have to remember that chances are your teammates 
    aren't going to offer much help, so you have to be self-reliant and plan 
    your path and strategies accordingly.

    Before we go any further, I want to emphasize two things that will be 
    paramount to your success in getting away with the flag.

    - Know When to Hold and When to Run
        Your objective is to get the flag to your side, but that doesn't mean 
        you should just run straight back to your base as fast as possible. A 
        fairly common scenario you will face when playing against a superior 
        team is that you have the flag but your entire team is wiped out and 
        sent back to the GY. If you run out with the flag now, you will almost 
        certainly meet the entire enemy force as they carry the flag back to 
        their base while you are cut off from your teammates -- not a good 
        position to be in. Therefore in this situation you should just hold the
        flag in a concealed position and tell your teammates where to meet you.
        Generally speaking the roof or ramp are good choices, as most players 
        tend to walk up the tunnel when they have the flag.

    - Look Behind!
        You simply can't be a successful flag runner if you don't know what's 
        chasing you. Looking behind will allow you to time your cooldowns and 
        counter potential dangerous moves made by your enemy. If you watch my 
        video you will see that I probably spend more time looking behind me 
        than ahead of me. 

    Now we get those two points out of the way, let's talk about how to get the
    flag back to your base. Starting from the enemy base, you have three routes
    to choose from to get back to the other side: the tunnel, the ramp, or the 
    graveyard. They offer different advantages and disadvantages.

    - The tunnel leads directly to the center of the map, which is usually 
        where the enemies are. It is also very possible that there will be a 
        hunter or a rogue waiting for you at the other end of the tunnel whom, 
        due to the incline and the width of the tunnel, you can't see until you
        actually get out, by which time it may already be too late. The upside 
        is that it is the fastest way out of the enemy base, and the speed 
        boots can be extremely helpful when you are running from the defenders.
        Just remember that it might be a good idea to run diagonally for a bit 
        right after you are out of the tunnel to avoid any danger that lurks 
        near the tunnel exits. Lastly, if you see a hunter laying down a trap 
        in the tunnel, Blink over it.

    - The ramp is usually my first choice. Its immediate benefit is that right 
        after you get the flag you can turn left and exit through the doorway 
        on the 2nd floor, which offers some protection against ranged attackers
        like hunters and mages (due to LoS). Once you are outside, you get a 
        vantage point to survey the battleground, which allows you to refine 
        your escape plan. Thereafter you can just run along the side of the 
        map, where the houses, catapults and trees will conceal your movement 
        from cusory examination. Furthermore, it is also the path farthest from
        the spawn point of your enemies (which is to say the GY), so it would 
        take them longer to get to you. The disadvantage associated with the 
        ramp path is that it takes the longest time to get the flag back to 
        your base, since you are moving laterally a lot. It also means that the
        enemies in the center of the map can simply run to the entrance to your
        tunnel and cut you off before you can enter it.

    - The GY path could be quite risky because it goes right through where the 
        enemies spawn: if you were unlucky your little venture would end right 
        there. One thing you can try is to walk along the very northern edge of
        the map until you hit the western wall, then jump down. Most people 
        won't bother to look behind after they resurrect so you can probably 
        get away unnoticed. If you have depleted too much health or mana in the
        flag room, you can also replenish them at the hut. This route is faster
        than the ramp path; it doesn't put you right in the middle of the map; 
        and it may very well surprise your enemies if you have kept on using 
        the other two exits in a long match.

    My order of preference goes: the ramp > the tunnel > the GY. But this is as
    much a reflection of the conditions inside a normal BG as the layout of the
    BG itself. You should be flexible in choosing which path to use, and 
    shouldn't be afraid to change the course when things aren't going as 
    planned.

    At this point (or indeed maybe even earlier) you may have noticed that I've
    skipped a step, that is what you do when there are defenders inside the 
    base. I will answer that question here since it is also the problem you 
    will be facing once you get out of the base and into the open.

    The basic principle is that you don't want to waste any time when you have 
    the flag, so you will be CC any and (if possible) all enemies you encounter
    along the way. Secondly, watch the cooldowns on your lifesaving 
    spells/items and don't use them lightly, or you may find yourself in a 
    tight spot and completely without defense. Thirdly, if you knew the task 
    would be difficult, you should get as much help from your teammates as 
    possible. Usually this comes down to getting the flag when your teammates 
    are engaging the defenders in the enemy base, or running toward them when 
    you have the flag. Both of these require you to check your map and 
    communicate often, so form the habit of doing so. With these in mind, here 
    is a rough idea of what you can do against the enemies that come into your 
    way, categorized by class.

    - Druid
        If both of you are in the base, you only have to worry about the 
        annoying Moonfire spam. Some better druids will change to bear form to 
        charge you, but refrain from using spells like FN and Blink if you can,
        since druid doesn't do that much damage. You can use CoC or even 
        Polymorph on them, just to see what they would do. Once you are 
        outside, you should watch out for Entangling Root, so keep him in your 
        sight. You can counter the root by using either CS or Blink, depending 
        on the situation. For instance, if you also see a paladin, CS the druid
        and save the Blink for the Hammer of Justice.

    - Hunter
        Combining range, speed, damage and slowing effect, this is your most 
        dangerous pursuer, thus must be stopped at all costs if you want to get
        the flag across. In most situations, you should find a way to get close
        to them (turning back a bit if you must) and Polymorph. If you can't 
        Polymorph in his dead zone, put up a Mana Shield first or you will be 
        mostly dead before your Polymorph goes off. If he trinkets out, do it 
        again; but if he somehow gets out of it the second time, you will have 
        to think of something else. You can try FN and Blink, or use Iron 
        Grenade when you want to stop the hunter without losing any time 
        yourself. Sometimes if the hunter is having the Aspect of the Cheetah 
        on you may get enough time to get away by merely hitting him once with 
        Fire Blast to daze him. You could also run into your teammates and ask 
        them to stop the hunter for you. If it's a low level hunter away from 
        his GY, it may be easier just to kill him first. As a reminder, watch 
        out for the traps when you are close to the hunter.

    - Mage
        Mage is fairly dangerous if the person knows what he is doing. A mage 
        will do two things: Polymorph you or slow you with Frostbolt, Frost 
        Nova, or CoC. You only have one CS so you will have to figure out which
        school to counter. There isn't any rule or magic formula for this, you 
        have to think for yourself for the situation at hand. For example, if 
        the mage is trying to sheep you, you can CS right away and Polymorph 
        him instead, unless of course you don't have the time to stop and cast 
        Polymorph, in which case trinketing out of the Polymorph and CS any 
        Frost spell he may cast is more sensible. If he is getting close to 
        you, save the Blink for the possible FN. Conversely, if he just Blinked
        right next to you can cast FN to root him in place. If it is a lone 
        mage you are fighting and have the time to spare, you could just 
        Polymorph him right away. Even if it gets CSed the first time, and he 
        trinkets out the second time, he can't stop the third Polymorph to 
        land, which would still last a good six seconds.

    - Paladin
        Paladins can only stun you with Hammer of Justice, so just save the 
        Blink for it. Most of the time it won't be necessary to Polymorph them,
        unless you think they might put up a Blessing of Freedom on some other 
        enemy that you are trying to slow.

    - Priest
        Priests won't offer much resistance either. Most of them will try to 
        run into you and hit Psychic Scream. Shadow priests may try to use Mind
        Flay to snare you, but its range is limited and they can't move while 
        channeling it, therefore just move away and they won't be able to catch
        up.

    - Rogue
        Rogue could be both very easy or very hard. They are easy in the sense 
        that if you choose your path carefully and they don't have cooldowns 
        available, you can probably outrun most of them just by Blinking from 
        time to time. If you think there are some rogues lurking ahead, it 
        might be a good idea to put up a Mana Shield and save your Blink for 
        the occasion. It becomes harder if the rogue activates Sprint, which 
        you can still counter with either Polymorph or FN.  The tenacious ones 
        will use Ambush (Blink), Iron Grenade (FN), trinket, Sprint all in one 
        go, which could spell serious trouble for you. Your best bet in this 
        case is Iron Grenade and then Polymorph, if you Polymorph right away 
        you might get Kicked. 
        
        There are also some tricks that you might find when dealing with 
        rogues. One, try to spam a few rank 1 AE a few seconds after you use 
        Blink near a bottleneck, I've known some rogues (including myself when 
        playing mine) that like to hang around near the tunnel since that's 
        where flag carriers generally go. Two, when you see a rogue running 
        toward you, you can jump right outside of the melee range, turn 180 
        degrees so that your back is toward him, then anther 180 after he 
        passes you. This is to prevent him from Gouging you. Three, press down 
        the forward key instead of using auto run when you are being chased by 
        a rogue. This way if he uses Distract you won't be stopped cold in your
        track. You can also avoid Distract by keeping yourself in combat, if 
        you have the corresponding talents, a Fire Blast every time it's up 
        will do.

    - Shaman
        Most of the time shamans will come to you in the Ghost Wolf form, which
        is a blessing because you can Polymorph him in that form while he can't
        do anything. Better shamans will shift out as soon as they are within 
        range, and will Earth Shock your Polymorph if you try it. I suggest you
        to Polymorph anyway -- even if they used Earth Shock, you don't have to
        wait for long to resheep, and it means they can't use Frost Shock in 
        another 6 seconds or so. Some shamans will use Earth Shock to interrupt
        you and Earthbind Totem to slow you, but as long as you have the shaman
        Polymorphed you should be fine. Of course, the shaman would probably be
        on your heels again soon enough, but by then hopefully you would be in 
        your base. If not, just redo the routine.

    - Warlock
        Warlock doesn't have a snare at this level and they can only run at the
        normal speed, so you don't even have to pay attention to them to leave 
        them behind. The only thing you need to watch out for is 
        Fear/Seduction, have your CS/WotF/Trinket ready when they do that.

    - Warrior
        Warrior represents one of the bigger threats you will face. By 
        themselves they aren't troublesome -- a simple Polymorph or FN will 
        stop them. But they become a very big headache when there are others 
        involved as well. Charge once every 15 seconds from 25 yards out, and a
        snare that lasts 15 seconds without diminishing return will allow 
        others to catch up to you very fast if you can't control the warrior. 
        Therefore, just like when dealing with hunters and mages, pay extra 
        attention to them.

    In reality, about half of the time you need to run away from two or more 
    opponents rather than just one, this makes the escape much more dynamic, 
    complicated, and technical. I cannot give you a rule for countering every 
    combination of classes, and indeed in some cases there is no counter 
    without help from your teammates. Rather, I will list three combinations as
    examples of what you should do with them.

    - Hunter + Hunter
        A very challenging combination. It's practically impossible to 
        Polymorph with both hunters and their pets on you, so your best hope is
        somehow get them bunched together then FN to trap them all, after which
        you can Polymorph one if you want. But do know that they will catch up 
        to you pretty fast, so run to your nearest teammates as soon as 
        possible. If you can't FN both of them, try FN one and Blink. If they 
        are behind you, use your Iron Grenade to stun one.

    - Hunter + Warrior
        Put up a Mana Shield and Polymorph the warrior, run, then Polymorph the
        hunter. With Blink you should be able to get out of the range of Charge
        so the warrior won't be able to catch up to you again.

    - Rogue + Mage
        You should keep the mage targeted to counter any Polymorph or snaring 
        spells, and just FN / CoC the rogue when he gets close.


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8.3   Holding The Flag

    Great, you've made it back with the flag, now you just need to hold it 
    until your flag is returned. This could either be very long and boring, or 
    be even more exciting than getting the flag.

    In truth, I don't think mage is the best flag holder in this bracket, 
    probably not even in the top three if you consider feral druid, paladin and
    warrior. Your advantage in mobility is diminished due to the constrained 
    layout of your base, you rely more on your cooldowns for survival, and your
    weakness in low armor and health is highlighted when everyone is focused on
    you. So my opinion is that if you can hand off the flag to someone more 
    durable, do that and protect that person instead (provided that person 
    knows what he is doing). This way you have very little pressure on you when
    you need to cast spells, hence you'd be much more effective at CC the 
    enemies. Just remember to spam a few AE to make sure there aren't any 
    stealthed enemies nearby before handing off the flag.

    But if you must hold the flag, I suggest you to go to the roof. The 
    advantage is threefold. One, there is only one way up, so you will be able 
    to see every non-stealth unit coming up and get a fairly accurate 
    assessment of the threat they pose at a glance; it would also be easy for 
    your team to set up a strategic bottleneck. Secondly, you still reserve the
    escape routes that would be available had you hold the flag elsewhere. 
    Namely, you could jump down to the second floor or you could jump down 
    straight to the FR. There you could either kite by running back up to the 
    roof or run out to the GY for help. Lastly, staying on the roof allows you 
    to quickly reach the capture point once your flag is returned. The last 
    point must be emphasized, because I see many flag carriers hold the flag 
    nowhere near the capture point. For a flag retriever nothing is more vexing
    than seeing his flag taken time and again because the flag carrier couldn't
    make to the capture point fast enough. And in a tight match a wasted 
    opportunity is devastating both strategically and psychologically.

    Assuming the enemies are attempting to relieve the flag from you, you have 
    to make a choice between staying and fight or running/kiting. Your best 
    choice is usually quite evident: if there are way more enemies than guards,
    you better run while you still can; but if there is only one or two 
    attackers, you might as well just kill them on the roof. You have to 
    monitor your health and mana very closely, especially if you decide to 
    fight. If you are running/kiting and your teammates are engaging their flag
    carrier, you should try to run inside the base for as long as you can. For 
    example, you can jump to the 2nd floor from roof, go down the incline and 
    run back to the FR, down the tunnel and up to the roof again (grabbing the 
    boots if they are up). Or you can just jump down from the loft to the FR, 
    run up the ramp to the loft again. This way you won't be too far from the 
    capture point when your flag is returned. Beware that as you are running up
    the ramp leading to your roof, warriors and druids can charge you from 
    below if you are too careless in choosing your path. Therefore you should 
    run along outer rim of the bend once you are half way up the ramp.

    If you decide to fight, do keep an eye on your healer if you can spare the 
    attention. Smarter enemies might go straight after your healer first so you
    should try to keep him alive as well using Polymorph or FN. If you are 
    running, you should tell your healer beforehand (that is before the enemies
    come up the ramp) that you will be running so he can be prepared to run 
    with you. In addition, during the course of kiting, if you see he is 
    casting healing spell on you, wait a few moments for it to land before you 
    turn to the next corner or jump to a different level. 

    If there is imminent, grave danger or you are losing health fast, run to 
    your GY as soon as possible, this way it's easier for your teammates to 
    help you. You also have the option of dropping down to the hut to 
    regenerate your health.

    Lastly, if you know you are going down, try to run to your teammates so 
    (hopefully) they can pick up the flag when you drop it. I've seen on many 
    occasions that our flag carrier would just keep on running when being 
    chased, and we just couldn't catch up to him. So when he dropped the flag 
    it would be returned immediately, giving his teammates no chance to reclaim
    it. Don't be that person. (This really goes back to the subsection on 
    "Think")


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8.4   Returning The Flag

    Returning flag is fairly easy in that you only have two important tasks at 
    hand: slow the appropriate enemies (usually the flag carrier) and CC the 
    healers. Mage is the only class that can accomplish these two tasks with 
    ease and they generally will keep you busy enough, so you can leave the 
    bulk of the damage to others and supplement it with your instant and short 
    casts such as Fire Blast. As I said, most of the time you want to snare the
    flag carrier so your melee classes can catch up to him. But there are times
    where you want to snare his support instead, which might allow you to 
    isolate the carrier. As for healers, Polymorph them at the start and CS 
    them when the carrier is about to go down. You can also use Iron Grenade 
    (or even the rocket helm if you have it) if one CS is not enough.

    Again, going back to the beginning of this guide, if you are in their base 
    and see your carrier is losing health, go to their flag room so that you 
    can retake the flag should your carrier goes down. You should be prepared 
    to FN to prevent the enemy carrier from reaching the capture point, you 
    might also want to activate WotF before you take the flag if you know there
    are priests or warlocks around. 


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8.5   Defending The Flag

    Mage is reasonably good at defending the flag, but I suggest you to leave
    the task to your rogues or hunters since they are very good at it. You 
    should help your defenders when the situation calls for it, but you should 
    be more focused on getting the flag instead.

    If you are defending somehow, I would very much recommend *against* 
    defending in your flag room by yourself, because you run a very high risk
    getting swarmed or CCed (such as sap). In addition, the layout in your flag
    room isn't very conducive to spellcastings, the terrain problem can 
    severely restrict your use of Blink; and should you die, who knows when 
    you will be resurrected by the spirit healer.

    If you have to defend in your base, you *must* keep an eye on the speed 
    boots and take them whenever they are up (this happens once every three 
    minutes), so that the enemy can't use them. Also, you might want to stand
    at a spot where you won't be easily targeted/CCed, such as on the second 
    floor or under it (but not in that little room).

    But most likely you will find yourself "defending" the flag outside, in the
    middle of the map. This should be your preferred defending area since you
    are in a position to both stop the enemy carrier and assist your own flag
    carrier. You need be ready for the enemy flag carrier whenever your flag is
    taken. This entails keeping an eye on your side of the map at all 
    times and announce his location as soon as you see him.

    Once you (and your teammates if there are any) get to him, you should do 
    exactly as what you do when trying to return the flag in their base. That
    is you should mostly crowd control and prevent his healer from healing him.

    If you died during the course of play and your side is carrying the flag 
    back to your base, you should go back to defend your flag after you 
    ressurect.

    Defending against druid and mage carriers present a special challenge which
    I will address here. In a nutshell, you can't hope to keep up with a feral 
    druid once he goes into cat form and shifts often. If you two start head to
    head, you can stay with an average-skilled druid for about 45 seconds 
    (three Blinks) with rank 1 Frostbolt, FN, CoC, Fire Blast (with Impact) and
    Blink before he runs out of your range. But if you can keep up for that 
    long, you have slowed him down long enough that maybe your teammates can 
    catch up. In the process, you will also drain quite a bit of his mana so 
    that he probably can't shift his form or heal for much longer. Just do the 
    best you can in staying with him and force him to waste mana. Also note 
    that druid carriers tend to run down via the ramp, if that's the case, you 
    should try to stay near the center lane of the map rather than chasing 
    directly behind them. This way you will get another opportunity to 
    intercept them when he approach the tunnel. Finally, if you see the druid 
    is very swift in shifting in and out, don't bother wasting your time in 
    casting your Frostbolt, just run after him with Blink so you won't be left 
    too far behind once he gets to their FR.

    You can catch up to a mage if you weren't too far behind at the start, but 
    you have to be careful and selective in the spell you use. For example, if 
    you are barely keeping up with him, stopping and casting 
    Polymorph/Frostbolt is obviously a bad idea. In this case your best bet is 
    the Iron Grenade (or things like rocket helm if you have it). If he isn't 
    too far off, you can try Polymorph or Frostbolt, just be mindful of a 
    possible CS or Blink that puts him out of range. Thus if that mage is very 
    good you should Polymorph only when your Blink is already on a cooldown. On
    the other hand, I find 1-second Frostbolt is very hard to CS due to lag, so
    if you are specced in that, it would be a good spell to use at any time. If
    he has just used Blink and isn't too far from where you are, you can FN him
    to trap him in place for a while, possibly giving your teammates enough 
    time to catch up.


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8.6   Escorting and Guarding The Flag Carrier

    When you are escorting or guarding your flag carrier, you have more time in
    choosing your spells than you do when carrying the flag yourself. Therefore
    you should really evaluate the situation and think before you cast 
    something, as an ill-timed FN or Blink may very well put your flag carrier 
    in jeopardy a few seconds down the line. 

    When your teammate just got the flag, check your map to see which route he 
    is using. Once you meet him, just follow him and slow or CC any enemy that 
    comes into his way. Just as when you are the flag carrier yourself, you 
    should pay special attentions to hunters, warriors and mages, as they pose 
    the greatest threat to your carrier.

    If you believe your FC isn't in immediate danger, you can just run along 
    side of him and keep a 20-yard distance in-between. This way you can shield
    him from incoming enemies and use the 20 yards as a buffer zone. If he gets
    into trouble, you are never a Blink away to assist. 

    But if your FC is of a low level (never a good idea to begin with) or you 
    believe there is imminent threat, you should stay very close to him, maybe 
    within 5-10 yards or so. This would allow you to avoid some AE effects but 
    also close enough so that you can pick up the flag should he drop it.

    One thing of note here is that if your FC is going down and there are 
    enemies in the vicinity, you could throw an Iron Grenade onto your FC so 
    that any enemy next to him will be stunned for a short duration, giving you
    the time to pick up the flag.

    When you are guarding a FC, you should contribute as much damage as you 
    can, while doing your usual job of CC the enemies. I feel this should be 
    obvious to you at this point =) . 




===============================================================================
         =============================================================        =
[9]      =                        Arathi Basin                       =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================


This will be a short section, because unlike WSG, AB is very much a team game 
-- in the sense that in WSG if you have one good FC and one good flag retriever
it may just be enough to win the game. But obviously this is not going to work 
in AB, therefore you should probably stick to other players if you can. The 
basics (like CC) still apply here, but I will not bore you by repeating them 
again.

The only general advice I can give you here is that you should be checking your
map often to see which resource nodes need reinforcement, and which ones held 
by the enemy could be attempted. Most of the time you will be relegated to the 
defending duty (PuGs...), which could be very boring and not as glamorous as 
getting HKs or assaulting nodes, but someone needs to do these tasks if you 
want to win the game.


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9.1   Assaulting a Resource Node

    If you are assaulting a node by yourself and there is only one defender 
    (other than hunter or warlock) at the flag, you can just Polymorph and
    capture the node first before dealing with the defender. Most of the time 
    you want to Polymorph when both the defender and you are right next to the 
    flag, since you can click on the flag right after the Polymorph lands. 
    Other times (such as when facing classes that don't have a reliable ranged 
    attack like paladin) you can Polymorph some distance away from the flag 
    then Blink there. 

    If you are assaulting a node as part of a group, you can try clicking on 
    the flag while the enemies are engaged and not paying attention to it. It 
    works more times than you would think.

    Sometimes you may want to loot the corpse of an enemy before you attempt to
    convert a resource node to prevent him from resurrecting there. There is no
    way for you to know that it will pay off, it could very well just be a 
    waste of time. But you should be aware of this move, especially in more 
    competitive matches.

    One word of caution. When you are in the process of converting a flag, 
    never face the flag pole. The reason for this is that unlike other objects 
    such as the fence, you cannot Blink through it. Thus if a rogue Cheap Shots
    you there, you'd be in some real trouble. 


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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9.2   Defending a Resource Node

    Defending resource node is an often boring but absolutely necessary part of
    AB. Unfortunately, most PuG players won't bother to defend, so it's very 
    likely that you will have to take up that task yourself. 

    The most important thing to remember when defending a resource node is that
    you ought to constantly check the flag to make sure no enemy is attempting 
    to steal it while you are occupied. It isn't that uncommon to see a group 
    of enemies tries to draw you away from the flag while their rogue or druid 
    goes behind you and steal the flag.

    When you are defending, make sure you do *not* stand right next to the flag
    pole, or it will be very easy for a rogue to Sap, take your flag, then 
    restealth before you regain control of your character. Instead, you should 
    stand about 10-20 yards away from the flag, this way rogue won't have 
    enough time to capture the flag after Sap, and the flag is always within 
    the range of your Fire Blast. 

    Mage has a distinctive advantage at defending a resource node in that they 
    have ranged attack, AE attack, and can get back to the flag quickly when 
    needed. For example, if a couple of enemies all try to capture the resource
    node, you can just use Arcane Explosion or Blizzard to stop them all. 

    Iron Grenade is also very useful when you are some distance away from the 
    flag but need to stop a group of enemies who are capturing your flag fast.
    I'd say the Iron Grenade is never more useful in any other situation than 
    it is here.

    Lastly, if you died while defending, it might be a good idea to run 
    straight to your corpse and resurrect there if the timer on the spirit 
    healer is too long. In light of this, if you know you will go down, try to 
    get as close to the GY and resource node as possible, so that your corpse 
    run won't be too long. There are two things you need to note here. One, if 
    an enemy loots your corpse and overtakes the resource node while you are 
    away from the GY, it would be a very long walk to the next GY under your 
    control. Two, even if you manage to get to your corpse, it may take a long 
    time (a few minutes) before you are allowed to resurrect there, which 
    happens when you've died more than once recently. If that's the case you 
    will be forced to run back to the GY again, possibly missing the 
    resurrection timer. So there are definitely high risks associated with this
    move. 

    There are a few things you can do to minimize the risk. From my experience,
    the enemy is more likely to loot your corpse when there are many of them 
    and only a few of you (or perhaps just you). The risk of getting caught "in
    the middle" is lower when you died in a one-on-one situation, and lower
    still if both sides had roughly equal numbers when they met. 

    Second, you should know better than anyone else of when you last died. If 
    the event happened fairly recently, you should just stay put at the GY. 
    Though I have to say, if you are a stealth class, it might be a good idea 
    to run to your corpse regardless of when you died last time, especially if 
    your corpse is at a rather inconspicuous location. You can wait there, 
    resurrect, and possibly retake the flag when the time is right.




===============================================================================
         =============================================================        =
[10]     =                      Other Resources                      =        =
         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================


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10.1  PvP Video

    Here is a list of mage videos I've seen and liked. Although they focus on 
    high level pure PvP rather than low level BG PvP, they will certainly help 
    you in becoming a more skilled mage. As for BG PvP, you can check out the 
    video I made specifically for this guide. Do note that this is by no means 
    an exhaustive list of the "best" videos, it's merely a list of videos I've 
    seen and benefited from myself. I hope they will be equally valuable and 
    enlightening to you.

    - Sorrow Hill 1-9 (Otherguy - Arcane/Fire, Elementalist)
        One of the first PvPers, and one of the best. When he released his 
        first video two months after WoW went retail, no one had any idea how 
        to PvP, yet he already had complete understanding of his class and 
        other classes. The only criticism for his videos is that most of his 
        opponents are only averagely skilled, but that's not something he can 
        change. Watch his videos for his movement, control, and timing (i.e., 
        use of spells that have cooldowns).

        http://www.warcraftmovies.com/pv.php?l=otherguy


    - Saerdna 3 (Saerdna - Elementalist)
        From what I have seen, Saerdna is the best mage captured on video -- 
        absolutely incredible reflexes and anticipation against skilled PvPers. 
        My favorite clips include the surprise encounter with a rogue at BRM, 
        the duel with an undead mage in front of Org., the duel with a SL 
        warlock, the 1vs2 action against a warlock and a druid, and the duel 
        with a paladin and a mage at the end. (He has three videos, but I've 
        only seen the last one)

        http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=14360


    - Francis (Francis - Frost)
        Another very old video. In the days when everyone was a fire mage, 
        Francis showed the control and survivability a frost mage could have. 
        Probably because of the play style, this video is not one of my 
        favorites, but should worth a look if you are going heavy Frost.

        http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=1880


    - Vurtne (Vurtne - Arcane/Frost, Elementalist)
        One of the younger generation mages, and hailed by many to be better 
        than Saerdna. I guess what impressed most people is his masterful use 
        of engineering gadgets. He is certainly one of the very top mages and 
        you should definitely watch his videos to see what a mage can do, but
        I think Saerdna is still slightly better.

        http://www.warcraftmovies.com/viewauthor.php?id=6093


    - Dysic (Dysic - Elementalist)
        Just stumbled upon it a few months ago, though I've heard the name 
        before. An Alliance mage, and does very well when under pressure from 
        multiple targets. This is also one of the more recent videos (shot 
        right before 2.0), which could be a good reason to check it out.

        http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=33637


    - Level 29 Mage BG PvP (Luximus - Hybrid)
        A video made by the author of this guide. I had to recycle some of the 
        music pieces from other videos since my favorite genre, classical, 
        doesn't go very well with an action packed video =) . This video is a 
        bit long (20 min), but much like this written guide, it's hard to 
        condense the materials when there is so much to cover.

        - Full Quality Download (wmv, 341MB):
          (requires premium account at warcraftmovies.com)
        
        http://www.warcraftmovies.com/movieview.php?id=45770
        
        
        - Slightly Lower Quality Download (H.264 in mkv, 230MB):
          (free download; lightly lower quality as this is transcoded
           from the original wmv file, but hardly noticeable. See 
           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matroska and 
           http://www.h264info.com/playh264.html if you need help.)
           
           The video may be unavailable from time to time (as FileFront likes 
           to delete files without warning), I will keep uploading it for as 
           long as I can.
           
        http://files.filefront.com/Mage+Video+Fullmkv/;13366408;/fileinfo.html
        
           Same video file split into five different parts with WinRAR, you can
           use 7-Zip to stitch them back together. Thus this requires a bit of
           work, but since the files are hosted on Microsoft Skydrive, they 
           won't be deleted any time soon.
        
        http://cid-e18da31fef518ef2.skydrive.live.com/browse.aspx/.Public
        
        
        - Stream (three parts):
          (high quality stream available. Part 3 music changed from the 
           original due to copyright.)
        
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he5aPTxk3Pw
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxY_kE1awWg
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye9RaySbzTs


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10.2  Links to Other Guides

    Links are accessible as of 1/11/09.

    - "Guide to 20-29 Twinks" (Sinira - Eredar)
        http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=75311143&sid=1

    - "Tired of Losing WSG? Read This." (Thortok - Bonechewer)
        http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=67837905&sid=1

    - "Tired of Losing AB? Read This." (Thortok - Bonechewer)
        http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=81920309&sid=1




===============================================================================
         =============================================================        =
[11]     =          Acknowledgement, Version and Copyright           =        =

         =============================================================        =
===============================================================================


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11.1  Acknowledgement

    I am grateful to my guildmates in <Dark Trust>, with whom it's always been 
    a delight to play this game (though I wish they'd play in the 20-29 more 
    often!).

    I thank my fellow Horde PvPers from Emerald Dream, in particular those from
    the guild <The Royal Assassins>, for the many wonderful games in the past. 

    I also would like to thank my opponents from both ED (especially those from
    <Silverwing Alliance>, <Band of the Lily>, and <Fargate Command>) and other
    servers in the Shadowburn battlegroup, for the challenges they provide, 
    which have always forced me to become a better player.

    Lastly, I am indebted to Otherguy and Saerdna: your videos have been truly 
    inspirational, and without your guidance this mage FAQ would not have been
    written.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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11.2  Version

    1.01 - 01/11/09
        - Added new links to my video.
    1.01 - 11/24/07
        - Added a small section on Jewelcrafting under 5.2.
        - Added a contribution on fighting shamans under 6.7
        - Small additions and corrections here and there
    1.00 - 08/26/07


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11.3  Copyright Information

    This guide is copyrighted under Luximus of the Emerald Dream server. 

    You are free to copy or distribute any and all parts of this guide, 
    provided that:

    - it is for personal or guild use only and,
    - you or anyone using this guide do not make any financial gain from such 
      action and,
    - you properly attribute the original authorship to me.
		
    Hosting or public display of this guide is currently granted only for guild
    websites and GameFAQs. You are welcome to link to this guide at GameFAQs, 
    but any other use or hosting of this guide, either in part or in entirety, 
    shall require my express permission. You can reach me at 
    luximus.ed@gmail.com .